Daniel Bougt defends his thesis "A Sequence of Essays on Sequences of Auctions"

2022-06-01

Daniel Bougt will defend his thesis "A Sequence of Essays on Sequences of Auctions" on Friday 3 June at 2:15 pm in Lecture Hall 2 at Ekonomikum, Kyrkogårdsgatan 10, Uppsala. 

Daniel Bougt

The thesis consists of four essays on sequential auctions. That is when identical goods are sold one after the other in a sequence of auctions. Using theory, data from the field, and a lab-experiment, the essays investigate potential causes of the "declining price anomaly’’, and those causes’ implications for auctioneers. The "declining price anomaly’’ is the often observed empirical pattern that prices in sequential auctions often decline throughout sequences.

Discussant is Associate Professor Per Hjertstrand, Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) and the Grading committee members are Professor Per Johansson, Department of Statistics, Uppsala University, Associate Professor Per Engström, Department of Economics, Uppsala University and Assistant Professor Andreea Enache, Department of Economics, Stockholm University

Advisors are Associate Professor Ola Andersson, Department of Economics, Uppsala University and Professor Oskar Nordström Skans, Department of Economics, Uppsala University.

Abstract

Essay I (with Gagan Ghosh and Heng Liu). The existence of declining prices in sequential auctions is a well-documented empirical pattern. Three explanations that can explain the puzzle are bidders being risk averse, loss averse, or ambiguity averse. We use a data set on bids and prices from sequential auctions of train tickets to confirm the existence of declining prices. We further document bidder behavior that is inconsistent with bidders being risk averse or bidders being loss averse.

Essay II (with Gagan Ghosh and Heng Liu). We build on the findings in the first essay by studying a sequential second price auction model with ambiguity averse bidders. The studied mechanism closely resembles the one used to sell the train tickets. We provide an identification result that enables us to estimate the primitives of the model. Using the train ticket bidding data we then recover both the distribution of valuations and bidders' "worst-case'' beliefs. We perform policy experiments using the recovered objects showing that the seller would have lost 18% of the revenues if all ambiguity was removed. On the other hand, the seller would have earned 11% more if the tickets were sold using first price auctions instead of second price auctions. This is in line with our theoretical result.

Essay III (with Ola Andersson and Jim Ingebretsen Carlson). We report findings from a controlled lab experiment on sequential first price auctions that are consistent with the declining price anomaly in sequential auctions. We find that prices are higher in the first than in the second auction both in a Risk treatment, where bidders know the distribution of other bidders' valuations, and in an Ambiguity treatment, where bidders do not know the distribution of other bidders' valuations. 

Essay IV. I derive a structural test that can be implemented using bidding data from sequential auctions to evaluate if bidders behave as if they are price risk averse. The test is fully non-parametric. I show in a Monte-Carlo simulation that the test can be used to differentiate between risk neutral and price risk averse bidders.

Read the thesis here

Read more about Daniel on his personal web

Last modified: 2022-05-19