Numerical Simulations of Asymmetric First-Price Auctions - discussion paper
41 Pages Posted: 16 Apr 2010 Last revised: 5 Jan 2011
Date Written: November 1, 2009
The standard method for computing the equilibrium strategies of asymmetric first-price auctions is the backward-shooting method. In this study we show that the backward-shooting method is inherently unstable, and that this instability cannot be eliminated by changing the numerical methodology of the backward solver. Moreover, this instability becomes more severe as the number of players increases. We then present a novel boundary-value method for computing the equilibrium strategies of asymmetric first-price auctions. We demonstrate the robustness and stability of this method for auctions with any number of players, and for players with mixed types of distributions, including both common distributions and distributions with more than one crossings. Finally, we use the boundary-value method to study large auctions with hundreds of players, to compute the rate at which large auctions first-price and second-price auctions become revenue equivalent, and to study auctions in which the distributions cannot be ordered according to first-order stochastic dominance.
JEL Classification: C63, D44, C72, D82
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation