Loss aversion and competition in Vickrey auctions: Money ain't no good
- Publication Type:
- Journal Article
- Games and Economic Behavior, 2019, 115 pp. 188 - 208
- Issue Date:
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© 2019 Elsevier Inc. A key prediction of expectations-based reference-dependent preferences and loss aversion in second-price auctions with private values is that the number of bidders should affect bids in auctions for real objects but not in auctions with induced monetary values. In order to test this distinctive comparative statics prediction, we develop an experiment where subjects bid in multiple auctions for real objects as well as auctions with induced values, each time facing a different number of rivals. Our results are broadly consistent with expectations-based reference-dependent preferences and loss aversion. We find that in real-object auctions bids decline with the intensity of competition whereas in induced-value auctions, instead, bids do not vary with the intensity of competition. Our results suggest that bidders may behave differently in real-object auctions than in induced-value ones, casting some doubt on the extent to which findings from induced-value laboratory experiments can be transferred to the field.
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