Motivated beliefs in auctions

Riehm, Tobias

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URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-640201
Document Type: Working paper
Year of publication: 2022
The title of a journal, publication series: ZEW Discussion Papers
Volume: 2022-062
Place of publication: Mannheim
Publication language: English
Institution: Sonstige Einrichtungen > ZEW - Leibniz-Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung
MADOC publication series: Veröffentlichungen des ZEW (Leibniz-Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung) > ZEW Discussion Papers
Subject: 330 Economics
Classification: JEL: D44 , C91,
Keywords (English): auctions , experiment , motivated beliefs
Abstract: In auctions bidders are usually assumed to have rational expectations with regards to their winning probability. However, experimental and empirical evidence suggests that agent's expectations depend on direct utility stemming from expectations, resulting in optimism or pessimism. Optimism increases ex ante savoring, while pessimism leads to less disappointment ex post. Hence, optimal expectations depend on the time left until the uncertainty is resolved, i.e. the time one can savor ex ante by being (too) optimistic. Applying the decision theory model of Gollier and Muermann (2010) to first price auctions, I show that by decreasing the time between bids and revelation of results, the auctioneer can induce bidders to forego optimism, leading to more aggressive bids and thereby higher revenues for the auctioneer. Finally I test these predictions experimentally, finding no evidence for my theoretical predictions.

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