Demand reduction and preemptive bidding in multi-unit license auctions

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Journal Article
Experimental Economics, 2013, 16 (1), pp. 52 - 87
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Multi-unit ascending auctions allow for equilibria in which bidders strategically reduce their demand and split the market at low prices. At the same time, they allow for preemptive bidding by incumbent bidders in a coordinated attempt to exclude entrants from the market. We consider an environment where both demand reduction and preemptive bidding are supported as equilibrium phenomena of the ascending auction. In a series of experiments, we compare its performance to that of the discriminatory auction. Strategic demand reduction is quite prevalent in the ascending auction even when entry imposes a (large) negative externality on incumbents. As a result, the ascending auction performs worse than the discriminatory auction both in terms of revenue and efficiency, while entrants' chances are similar across the two formats. © 2012 Economic Science Association.
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