NBER Working Papers by Bradley Larsen

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Working Papers

March 2015IV Quantile Regression for Group-level Treatments, with an Application to the Distributional Effects of Trade
with Denis Chetverikov, Christopher Palmer: w21033
We present a methodology for estimating the distributional effects of an endogenous treatment that varies at the group level when there are group-level unobservables, a quantile extension of Hausman and Taylor (1981). Because of the presence of group-level unobservables, standard quantile regression techniques are inconsistent in our setting even if the treatment is independent of unobservables. In contrast, our estimation technique is consistent as well as computationally simple, consisting of group-by-group quantile regression followed by two-stage least squares. Using the Bahadur representation of quantile estimators, we derive weak conditions on the growth of the number of observations per group that are sufficient for consistency and asymptotic zero-mean normality of our estimator. As...
September 2014The Bidder Exclusion Effect
with Dominic Coey, Kane Sweeney: w20523
We introduce a simple and robust approach to answering two key questions in empirical auction analysis: discriminating between models of entry and quantifying the revenue gains from improving auction design. The approach builds on Bulow and Klemperer (1996), connecting their theoretical results to empirical work. It applies in a broad range of information settings and auction formats without requiring instruments or estimation of a complex structural model. We demonstrate the approach using US timber and used-car auction data.
August 2014The Efficiency of Real-World Bargaining: Evidence from Wholesale Used-Auto Auctions
This study quantifies the efficiency of a real-world bargaining game with two-sided incomplete information. Myerson and Satterthwaite (1983) and Williams (1987) derived the theoretical efficient frontier for bilateral trade under two-sided uncertainty, but little is known about how well real-world bargaining performs relative to the frontier. The setting is wholesale used-auto auctions, an $80 billion industry where buyers and sellers participate in alternating-offer bargaining when the auction price fails to reach a secret reserve price. Using 270,000 auction/bargaining sequences, this study nonparametrically estimates bounds on the distributions of buyer and seller valuations and then estimates where bargaining outcomes lie relative to the efficient frontier. Findings indicate that the d...
December 2013Bid Takers or Market Makers? The Effect of Auctioneers on Auction Outcomes
with Nicola Lacetera, Devin G. Pope, Justin R. Sydnor: w19731
A large body of research has explored the importance of auction design and information structure for auction outcomes. Much less work has considered the importance of the auction process. For example, in many auctions, auctioneers are present and can impact the process of the auction by varying starting prices, level of price adjustments, the speed of the auction, the way they interact with auction participants, or their characteristic chant that is intended to excite buyers. We explore the importance of auction process by testing whether auctioneers can have a systematic difference on auction outcomes. We analyze more than 850,000 wholesale used car auctions and find large and significant differences in outcomes (probability of sale, price, and auction speed) across auctioneers. The perfo...

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