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The Winner's Curse: Experiments with Buyers and with Sellers

Lind, Barry and Plott, Charles R. (1991) The Winner's Curse: Experiments with Buyers and with Sellers. American Economic Review, 81 (1). pp. 335-346. ISSN 0002-8282.

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This paper presents a replication and extension of experiments with the "winner's curse" which were initiated in John Kagel and Dan Levin (1984, 1986) and Douglas Dyer et al. (1989). The common-value auction involves firms bidding for an item of unknown common value. Since the value of the item is unknown, the winners can bid more than the value and thereby lose money. The winner's curse occurs if the winners of auctions systematically bid above the actual value of the objects and thereby systematically incur losses. The phenomenon is said to occur possibly in the bidding for such natural resources as mineral rights, where the value of the mineral is unknown but each firm has an estimate of the value. Due to the field nature of the data, doubts have existed as to the actual existence of the curse. The Kagel and Levin (1986) paper tested for the existence of the phenomenon in a laboratory setting. The hope is that, by achieving a thorough understanding of the phenomenon as it might exist in simple laboratory environments, economists will become better equipped to identify and study the phenomenon in more-complex field settings.

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Additional Information:© 1991 American Economic Association. The financial support of the National Science Foundation and the Caltech Experimental Economics and Political Science Laboratory is gratefully acknowledged. We thank Michael Malcom for help and suggestions with the experimental design and Hsing-Yang Lee for his help with the graphics. We also thank Robert Hansen, John Kagel, Dan Levin, and John Lott for their comments. Formerly SSWP 699.
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Caltech Experimental Economics and Political Science LaboratoryUNSPECIFIED
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:83608
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:01 Dec 2017 18:11
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 19:08

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