THESIS DEFENSE :: Sequential Auction Design and Participant Behavior

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This thesis studies the impact of sequential auction design on
participant behavior from both a theoretical and an empirical
viewpoint. In the first of the two analyses, three sequential
auction designs are characterized and compared based on expected
profitability to the participants. The optimal bid strategy is
derived as well. One of the designs, the alternating design, is a
new auction design and is a blend of the other two. It assumes that
the ability to bid in or initiate an auction is given to each side
of the market in an alternating fashion to simulate seasonal
markets. The conditions for an equilibrium auction design are
derived and characteristics of the equilibrium are outlined. The
primary result is that the alternating auction is a viable
compromise auction design when buyers and suppliers disagree on
whether to hold a sequence of forward or reverse auctions. We also
found the value of information on future private value for a
strategic supplier in a two-period case of the alternating and
reverse auction designs.

The empirical work studies the cause of low aggregation of timber
supply in reverse auctions of an online timber exchange. Unlike
previous research results regarding timber auctions, which focus on
offline public auctions held by the U.S. Forest Service, we study
online private auctions between logging companies and mills. A
limited survey of the online auction data revealed that the auctions
were successful less than $50%$ of the time. Regression analysis is
used to determine which internal and external factors to the auction
affect the aggregation of timber in an effort to determine the
reason that so few auctions succeeded. The analysis revealed that
the number of bidders, the description of the good, and the volume
demanded had a significant influence on the amount of timber
supplied through the online auction exchange. A plausible
explanation for the low aggregation is that the exchange was better
suited to check the availability for custom cuts of timber and to
transact standard timber.


  • Workflow Status:
  • Created By:
    Barbara Christopher
  • Created:
  • Modified By:
    Fletcher Moore
  • Modified:


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