Auctions with Financial Externalities

Abstract

We study auctions with financial externalities, i.e., auctions in which losers care about how much the winner pays. In the first-price auction, larger financial externalities result in a lower expected price; in the second-price auction, the effect is ambiguous. Although the expected price in the second-price auction may increase if financial externalities increase, the seller is not able to gain more revenue by guaranteeing the losers a fraction of the auction revenue. With a reserve price, we find that both auctions may have pooling at the reserve price. This finding suggests that identical bids need not be a signal of collusion, in contrast to what is sometimes argued in anti-trust cases.

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Correspondence to Emiel Maasland.

Additional information

We gratefully acknowledge financial support from the Dutch National Science Foundation (NWO 510.010.501 and NWO-VICI 453.03.606). For valuable discussions and comments, we would like to thank Eric van Damme, Jacob Goeree, Thomas Kittsteiner, Marta Kolodziejczyk, seminar participants at Tilburg University, Humboldt University Berlin, and National University of Singapore, and audiences at ESEM 2001 in Lausanne, and the FEEM 2002 conference in Milan on auctions and market design. The suggestions of an anonymous referee of this Journal greatly improved the article. The usual disclaimer applies.

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Maasland, E., Onderstal, S. Auctions with Financial Externalities. Economic Theory 32, 551–574 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00199-006-0119-1

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Keywords

  • Auctions
  • Financial externalities
  • Reserve price

JEL Classification Numbers

  • C72
  • D44