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Collusion and Information Revelation in Auctions

Aniol Llorente-Saguer () and Ro'i Zultan ()

No 11944, CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers

Abstract: The theoretical literature on collusion in auctions suggests that the first-price mechanism can deter the formation of bidding rings. However, such analyses neglect to consider the effects of failed collusion attempts, wherein information revealed in the negotiation process may affect bidding behavior. We experimentally test a setup in which theory predicts no collusion and no information revelation in first-price auctions. The results reveal a hitherto overlooked failing of the first-price mechanism: failed collusion attempts distort bidding behavior, resulting in a loss of seller revenue and efficiency. Moreover, the first-price mechanism does not result in less collusion than the second-price mechanism. We conclude that, while the features of the first-price mechanism may have the potential to deter bidder collusion, the role of beliefs in guiding bidding behavior make it highly susceptible to distortions arising from the informational properties of collusive negotiation. Auction designers should take this phenomenon into account when choosing the auction mechanism.

Keywords: auctions; Collusion; Experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C72 C91 D44 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017-03
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-com, nep-exp, nep-gth, nep-hpe and nep-mic
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (6) Track citations by RSS feed

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Related works:
Journal Article: Collusion and information revelation in auctions (2017) Downloads
Working Paper: Auction Mechanisms and Bidder Collusion: Bribes, Signals and Selection (2014) Downloads
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