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I Won the Auction But Don't Want the Prize

Max H. Bazerman and William F. Samuelson
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Max H. Bazerman: Sloan School of Management, MIT
William F. Samuelson: Boston University School of Management

Journal of Conflict Resolution, 1983, vol. 27, issue 4, 618-634

Abstract: The “winner's curse†occurs in competitive situations when a successful buyer finds that he or she has paid too much for a commodity of uncertain value. This study provides an experimental demonstration of the winner's curse, and identifies factors that affect the existence and magnitude of this bidding abnormality. In an auction setting, two factors are shown to affect the incidence and magnitude of the winner's curse: (1) the degree of uncertainty concerning the value of the item up for bid and (2) the number of competing bidders. Increasing either factor will increase the range of value estimates and bids, making it more likely that the winning bidder will overestimate the true value of the commodity and thus overbid.

Date: 1983
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