Learning to Bid - an Experimental Study of Adaptation in Auctions and Fair Division Games

W. Güth, R. Ivanova, M. Königstein, M. Strobel

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We examine learning behaviour in auction and fair division experiments with independent private values under two different price rules, first and second price. Participants play all four games repeatedly and submit complete bid functions rather than single bids. This allows us to study how institutional changes are anticipated and whether learning is influenced by the structural differences between games. We find that learning does not drive bidding towards the benchmark solution. Bid functions are adjusted globally rather than locally. Directional learning theory offers a partial explanation for bid changes. The data support a cognitive approach to learning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477-494
JournalThe Economic Journal
Issue numberApril
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003

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