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Auctioning risk: The all-pay auction under mean-variance preferences

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  • Bettina Klose
  • Paul Schweinzer

Abstract

We analyse the all-pay auction with incomplete information and variance-averse bidders. We characterise the unique symmetric equilibrium for general distributions of valuations and any number of bidders. Variance aversion is a sufficient assumption to predict that high-valuation bidders increase their bids relative to the risk-neutral case while low types decrease their bid. Considering an asymmetric two-player environment with uniformly distributed valuations, we show that a variance-averse player always bids higher than her risk-neutral opponent with the same valuation. Utilising our analytically derived bidding functions we discuss all-pay auctions with variance-averse bidders from an auction designer’s perspective. We briefly consider possible extensions of our model, including noisy signals, type-dependent attitudes towards risk, and variance-seeking preferences.

Suggested Citation

  • Bettina Klose & Paul Schweinzer, 2012. "Auctioning risk: The all-pay auction under mean-variance preferences," ECON - Working Papers 097, Department of Economics - University of Zurich, revised Dec 2017.
  • Handle: RePEc:zur:econwp:097
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Péter Esö & Lucy White, 2004. "Precautionary Bidding in Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(1), pages 77-92, January.
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    5. Bodoh-Creed, Aaron L., 2012. "Ambiguous beliefs and mechanism design," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 518-537.
    6. Smith, James L. & Levin, Dan, 1996. "Ranking Auctions with Risk Averse Bidders," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 549-561, February.
    7. Matthews, Steven, 1987. "Comparing Auctions for Risk Averse Buyers: A Buyer's Point of View," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 633-646, May.
    8. Todd Kaplan & Shmuel Zamir, 2012. "Asymmetric first-price auctions with uniform distributions: analytic solutions to the general case," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 50(2), pages 269-302, June.
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    13. Fibich, Gadi & Gavious, Arieh & Sela, Aner, 2004. "Revenue equivalence in asymmetric auctions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 309-321, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Einav Hart & Judith Avrahami & Yaakov Kareev, 2016. "Enlarging the market yet decreasing the profit: An experimental study of competitive behavior when investment affects the prize," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 11(4), pages 380-390, July.
    2. repec:eee:eecrev:v:95:y:2017:i:c:p:23-37 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    All-pay auctions; contests; incomplete information; private values; risk-aversion; mean-variance preferences;

    JEL classification:

    • C7 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory
    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • L1 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance

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