Strategic Implications of Uncertainty over One's Own Private Value in Auctions

Eric Bennett Rasmusen 1
  • 1 Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, erasmuse@indiana.edu

A rational bidder in a private-value auction should be reluctant to incur the cost of perfectly estimating his value if it might not matter to the success of his bidding strategy. This can explain sniping---flurries of bids at the end of auctions---as the result of other bidders trying to avoid stimulating the victim into learning more about his value. The idea of value discovery also explains why a bidder might increase his bid ceiling in the course of an auction and why he would like to know the private values of other bidders.

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The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics (BEJTE) is a leading venue for top-notch economic theory, both pure and applied. Topics include contract theory, decision theory, game theory, general equilibrium theory, and mechanism design both pure and applied to such areas as industrial organization, public finance, labor and law and economics.

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