The auctions of Swiss government bonds: should the Treasury price discriminate or not?
Ever since Friedman's (1960) contribution, there has been an ongoing controversy about whether the Treasury should auction off its government debt with a discriminatory or with a uniform price format. Many industrialized countries, the United States or Germany, for instance, use discriminatory auctions, while Switzerland applies to uniform price rule. Using recent contributions to multi-unit auction theory, we analyze data on the bids submitted to Swiss Treasury bond auctions over the last three years. We then construct hypothetical bid functions that would occur under price discrimination. ...
Computationally convenient distributional assumptions for common value auctions
Although the mathematical foundations of common value auctions have been well understood since Milgrom & Weber (1982), equilibrium bidding strategies are computationally complex. Very few calculated examples can be found in the literature, and only for highly specialized cases. This paper introduces two sets of distributional assumptions that are flexible enough for theoretical and empirical applications and yet permit straightforward calculation of equilibrium bidding strategies.
A discrete model of discriminatory price auctions - an alternative to Menezes-Monteiro
Menezes and Monteiro, Math. Soc. Sci. (1995), show that a multi-unit discriminatory price auction does not have a pure strategy equilibrium unless one imposes some rather special conditions on the demand functions. This non-existence result might indicate a problem either with the underlying auction procedure (as Menezes and Monteiro suggest) or with the modelling approach (as we suggest). We observe that the non-existence problem disappears if bids must come in multiples of smallest units --- a realistic feature. Moreover, we show that most of the analysis can be recast in a discrete action ...
Insider rates vs. outsider rates in lending
The presence of private information about a firm can affect the competition among potential lenders. In the Sharpe (1990) model of information asymmetry among lenders (with the von Thadden (2004) correction), an uninformed outside bank faces a winner?s curse when competing with an informed inside bank. This paper examines the model?s prediction for observed interest rates at an inside vs. outside bank. Although the outside bank wins more bad firms than the inside bank, the winner?s curse also causes the outside rate conditional on firm type to be lower in expectation than the inside rate ...
The multiple unit auction with variable supply
The theory of multiple unit auctions traditionally assumes that the offered quantity is fixed. I argue that this assumption is not appropriate for many applications because the seller may be able and willing to adjust the supply to the bidding. In this paper I address this shortcoming by analyzing a multi-unit auction game between a monopolistic seller who can produce arbitrary quantities at constant unit cost, and oligopolistic bidders. I establish the existence of a subgame-perfect equilibrium for price discriminating and for uniform price auctions. I also show that bidders have an ...
The fragility of discretionary liquidity provision - lessons from the collapse of the auction rate securities market
We study the fragility of discretionary liquidity provision by major financial intermediaries during systemic events. The laboratory of our study is the recent collapse of the auction rate securities (ARS) market. Using a comprehensive dataset constructed from auction reports and intraday transactions data on municipal ARS, we present quantitative evidence that auction dealers acted at their own discretion as "market makers" before the market collapsed. We show that this discretionary liquidity provision greatly affected both net investor demand and auction clearing rates. Importantly, ...
Explaining the decline in the auction rate securities market
Auction rate securities are an example of a relatively obscure financial market instrument that has been caught up in the recent negative sentiment affecting the financial markets. This article examines these securities and sheds some light on recent events.
Treasury auctions: what do the recent models and results tell us?
Auctions, as selling mechanisms, have existed for well over two thousand years. Today, one of the most important auction markets in the world is that of U.S. Treasury securities; approximately $2 trillion worth of Treasury securities was auctioned in 1995. ; A long-standing debate has been about selecting an appropriate auction format for various Treasury securities, a format that would be least subject to possible manipulation by individual traders or a cartel and also result in the highest possible revenues for the Treasury. The Treasury is currently experimenting with what is called a ...
Disadvantaged business enterprise goals in government procurement contracting: an analysis of bidding behavior and costs
Programs that encourage the participation of disadvantaged business enterprises (DBE) as subcontractors have been a part of government procurement auctions for over three decades. In this paper, we examine the impact of a program that requires prime contractors to subcontract out a portion of a highway procurement project to DBE firms. We study how DBE subcontracting requirements affect bidding behavior in federally funded projects. Within a symmetric independent private value framework, we use the equilibrium bidding function to obtain the cost distribution of firms undertaking projects ...