Experimental Economics

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 44–57 | Cite as

Behavior in second-price auctions by highly experienced eBay buyers and sellers

  • Rodney J. Garratt
  • Mark Walker
  • John Wooders


We report on sealed-bid second-price auctions that we conducted on the Internet using subjects with substantial prior experience: they were highly experienced participants in eBay auctions. Unlike the novice bidders in previous (laboratory) experiments, the experienced bidders exhibited no greater tendency to overbid than to underbid. However, even subjects with substantial prior experience tended not to bid their values, suggesting that the non-optimal bidding of novice subjects is robust to substantial experience in non-experimental auctions. We found that auction revenue was not significantly different from the expected revenue the auction would generate if bidders bid their values. Auction efficiency, as measured by the percentage of surplus captured, was substantially lower in our SPAs than in previous laboratory experiments.


Experience eBay Second-price Sealed bid Auction 

JEL Classification

C12 C93 D44 D82 


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Copyright information

© Economic Science Association 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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