Simultaneous vs. sequential sales: Bidder competition and supply uncertainty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Under what circumstances will a seller be better off selling the inventory sequentially, rather than selling it all in a single auction? Does it benefit the seller to reveal how many auctions there will be? We study a uniform-price auction, in which bidders demand no more than one item, and have independent, private values. We show that even (1) when all buyers are present at the beginning of the auction, and (2) when both the seller and the buyers are impatient, a sequential sale can still benefit the seller as it stimulates competition among forward-looking bidders. This result depends on: (1) the bidder competition intensity, which is characterized by the difference between the number of items available and the number of buyers; and (2) the impatience levels of the auctioneer and the bidders. We also show that when there is uncertainty about the quantity supplied, a high-inventory auctioneer may benefit from using sequential auctions by pretending to be a low-inventory one initially.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-260
Number of pages10
JournalDecision Support Systems
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Management Information Systems
  • Information Systems
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Information Systems and Management


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