Essays in Structural Econometrics of Auctions

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Title: Essays in Structural Econometrics of Auctions
Author: Bulbul Toklu, Seda
Advisor: Sickles, Robin C.
Degree: Doctor of Philosophy thesis
Abstract: The first chapter of this thesis gives a detailed picture of commonly used structural estimation techniques for several types of auction models. Next chapters consist of essays in which these techniques are utilized for empirical analysis of auction environments. In the second chapter we discuss the identification and estimation of the distribution of private signals in a common value auction model with an asymmetric information environment. We argue that the private information of the informed bidders are identifiable due to the asymmetric information structure. Then, we propose a two stage estimation method, which follows the identification strategy. We show, with Monte-Carlo experiments, that the estimator performs well. Third chapter studies Outer Continental Shelf drainage auctions, where oil and gas extraction leases are sold. Informational asymmetry across bidders and collusive behavior of informed firms make this environment very unique. We apply the technique proposed in the second chapter to data from the OCS drainage auctions. We estimate the parameters of a structural model and then run counterfactual simulations to see the effects of the informational asymmetry on the government's auction revenue. We find that the probability that information symmetry brings higher revenue to the government increases with the value of the auctioned tract. In the fourth chapter, we make use of the results in the multi-unit auction literature to study the Balancing Energy Services auctions (electricity spot market auctions) in Texas. We estimate the marginal costs of bidders implied by the Bayesian-Nash equilibrium of the multi-unit auction model of the market. We then compare the estimates to the actual marginal cost data. We find that, for the BES auction we study, the three largest bidders, Luminant, NRG and Calpine, have marked-down their bids more than the optimal amount implied by the model for the quantities where they were short of their contractual obligations, while they have put a mark-up larger than the optimal level implied by the model for quantities in excess of their contract obligations. Among the three bidders we studied, Calpine has come closest to bidding its optimal implied by the Bayesian-Nash equilibrium of the multi-unit auction model of the BES market.
Citation: Bulbul Toklu, Seda. (2012) "Essays in Structural Econometrics of Auctions." Doctoral Thesis, Rice University.
Date: 2012-09-05

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