Mid-auction information acquisition

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2000-10-09
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This paper studies a model of a sequential auction where bidders are allowed to acquire further information about their valuations of the object in the middle of the auction. It is shown that, in any equilibrium where the distribution of the final price is atornless, a bidder's best response has a simple characterization. In particular, the optimal information acquisition point is the same, regardless of the other bidders' actions. This makes it natural to focus on symmetric, undominated equilibria, as in the Vickrey auction. An existence theorem for such a class of equilibria is presented. The paper also presents some results and numerical simulations that compare this sequential auction with the one-shot auction. 8equential auctions typically yield more expected revenue for the seller than their one-shot counterparts. 80 the possibility of mid-auction information acquisition can provide an explanation for why sequential procedures are more often adopted.


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