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

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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.

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Correspondence to John Wooders.

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This paper is based on Garratt et al. (2004). We thank Jordi Brandts, Greg Crawford, Ron Harstad, John Kagel, Dan Levin and two anonymous referees for helpful comments. We are grateful to John Kagel for providing us with data from experiments reported in Kagel and Levin (1993). This research was partially supported by Grant No. SBR-0099353 from the National Science Foundation.

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Garratt, R.J., Walker, M. & Wooders, J. Behavior in second-price auctions by highly experienced eBay buyers and sellers. Exp Econ 15, 44–57 (2012).

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