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An Experimental Study of Information Revelation Policies in Sequential Auctions

By et al. Tinmothy N. Cason


Theoretical models of information asymmetry have identified a tradeoff between the desire to learn and the desire to prevent an opponent from learning private information. This paper reports a laboratory experiment that investigates if actual bidders account for this tradeoff, using a sequential procurement auction with private cost information and varying information revelation policies. Specifically, the Complete Information Policy, where all submitted bids are revealed between auctions, is compared against the Incomplete Information Policy, where only the winning bid is revealed. The experimental results are largely consistent with the theoretical predictions. For example, bidders pool with other types to prevent an opponent from learning significantly more often under a Complete Information Policy. Also as predicted, the procurer pays less when employing an Incomplete Information Policy only when the market is highly competitive. Bids are usually more aggressive than the risk neutral quantitative prediction, which is usually consistent with risk aversion

Topics: JEL, C91, D44, D82. Keywords, Complete and Incomplete Information Revelation Policies, Laboratory Study, Procurement Auction, Multistage Game. Acknowledgments, We thank Dan Kovenock, Juan Carlos Escanciano, Sarah Rice, two anonymous
Year: 2010
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