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Playing the field in all-pay auctions

Daniel Stephenson and Alexander Brown ()

Experimental Economics, 2021, vol. 24, issue 2, No 5, 489-514

Abstract: Abstract We provide the first examination of all-pay auctions using continuous-time protocols, allowing subjects to adjust their bid at will, observe payoffs almost instantaneously, and gain more experience through repeated-play than in previous, discrete-time, implementations. Unlike our predecessors—who generally find overbidding—we observe underbidding relative to Nash equilibrium. To test the predictions of evolutionary models, we vary the number of bidders and prizes across treatments. If two bidders compete for a single prize, evolutionary models predict convergence to equilibrium. If three bidders compete for two prizes, evolutionary models predict non-convergent cyclical behavior. Consistent with evolutionary predictions, we observe cyclical behavior in both auctions and greater instability in two-prize auctions. These results suggest that evolutionary models can provide practitioners in the field with additional information about long-run aggregate behavior that is absent from conventional models.

Keywords: All pay auctions; Evolutionary game theory; Experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C73 C92 D44 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1007/s10683-020-09669-5

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