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Auctions with shill bidding


Shill bidding has increased substantially in recent years since the technology employed to conduct on-line auctions enables many sellers to disguise their identities and bid. Although their intent is to gain by misleading the bidders on the value of the object, we show that in a common value auction sellers are worse off shill bidding. In fact, any out-of-auction mechanism that makes it difficult for them to shill bid increases their revenues. In addition, shill bidding reduces the surplus of the bidders and the surplus from trade. It is only the auctioneer who could gain from this activity and in that sense he may not have an incentive from within the auction to discourage shill bidding.

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Correspondence to Indranil Chakraborty.

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Received: 1 February 2002, Revised: 12 August 2003

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Correspondence to: Georgia Kosmopoulou

We thank Timothy Dunne, Kevin Grier and the anonymous referees of this journal for helpful comments.

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Chakraborty, I., Kosmopoulou, G. Auctions with shill bidding. Economic Theory 24, 271–287 (2004).

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Keywords and Phrases:

  • Auction
  • Shill bidding
  • Seller participation