Magic on the Internet: Evidence from Field Experiments on Reserve Prices in Auctions
I present experimental evidence on the effects of minimum bids in first-price, sealed-bid auctions. The auction experiments manipulated the minimum bids in a preexisting market on the Internet for collectible trading cards from the game Magic: the Gathering. I examine a number of outcomes, including the number of participating bidders, the probability of sale, the levels of individual bids, and the auctioneers revenues. The benchmark theoretical model is one with symmetric, risk-neutral bidders with independent private values. The results verify a number of the predictions concerning equilibrium bidding. Many bidders behave strategically, anticipating the effects of the reserve price on others bids.
First version: October 1995
This version: February 2005