NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Bidder's Curse

Young Han Lee, Ulrike Malmendier

NBER Working Paper No. 13699
Issued in December 2007
NBER Program(s):   IO   LS

We employ a novel approach to identify overbidding in the field. We compare auction prices to fixed prices for the same item on the same webpage. In detailed board-game data, 42 percent of auctions exceed the simultaneous fixed price. The result replicates in a broad cross-section of auctions (48 percent). A small fraction of overbidders, 17 percent, suffices to generate the overbidding. The observed behavior is inconsistent with rational behavior, even allowing for uncertainty and switching costs, since also the expected auction price exceeds the fixed price. Limited attention to outside options is most consistent with our results.

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This paper was revised on April 6, 2010

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w13699

Published: Ulrike Malmendier & Young Han Lee, 2011. "The Bidder's Curse," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 749-87, April.

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