Auctions with imperfect commitment when the reserve may signal the cost to re-auction

Byoung Heon Jun, Elmar G. Wolfstetter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


If bidders are uncertain whether the auctioneer sticks to the announced reserve, they respond with strategic non-participation, speculating that the auctioneer may revoke the reserve. However, the reserve inadvertently signals the auctioneer's type, which drives multiplicity of equilibria. Eliminating belief systems that violate the "intuitive criterion" yields a unique equilibrium reserve price equal to the seller's consumption value. Paradoxically, even if bidders initially believe that the auctioneer is bound by his reserve almost with certainty, commitment has no value. Commitment is a shorthand for a high cost to re-auction, which may reflect a concern for reputation. Several variations of the model assess the robustness of our results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-21
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Industrial Organization
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Auctions
  • Imperfect commitment
  • Signaling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Industrial relations
  • Strategy and Management
  • Aerospace Engineering

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