Preliminary--Comments welcome (August 2011) Abstract: We run a large field experiment with an online company specializing in selling used automobiles via ascending auctions. We manipulate experimentally the maximum amount which bidders can bid above the current standing price, thus affecting the ease with which bidders can engage in jump bidding. We test between the intimidation vs. costly bidding hypotheses of jump bidding by looking at the effect of these jump-bidding restrictions on average seller revenue. We find evidence consistent with costly bidding in one market (Texas), but intimidation in the other market (New York). This difference in findings between the two markets appears partly attributable to the more prominent presence of seller
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