Hypothetical Thinking and the Winner's Curse: an Experimental Investigation

Johannes Moser (University of Regensburg)

Abstract: There is evidence that bidders fall prey to the winner's curse because they fail to extract information from hypothetical events - like winning an auction. This paper investigates experimentally whether bidders in a common value auction perform better when the requirements for this cognitive issue - also denoted by contingent reasoning - are relaxed, leaving all other parameters unchanged. The overall pattern of the data suggests that the problem of irrational over- and underbidding can be weakened by giving the subjects ex ante feedback about their bid, but unlike related studies I also find negative effects of additional information.

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