Axel Ockenfels

Department of Economics
University of Cologne
D-50923 Köln

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: University of Cologne

NBER Working Papers and Publications

March 2020Market Design, Human Behavior, and Management
with Yan Chen, Peter Cramton, John A. List: w26873
We review past research and discuss future directions on how the vibrant research areas of market design and behavioral economics have influenced and will continue to impact the science and practice of management in both the private and public sectors. Using examples from various auction markets, reputation and feedback systems in online markets, matching markets in education, and labor markets, we demonstrate that combining market design theory, behavioral insights, and experimental methods can lead to fruitful implementation of superior market designs in practice.
July 2019Projective Paternalism
with Sandro Ambuehl, B. Douglas Bernheim: w26119
We study experimentally when, why, and how people intervene in others' choices. Choice Architects (CAs) construct opportunity sets containing bundles of time-indexed payments for Choosers. CAs frequently prevent impatient choices despite opportunities to provide advice, believing Choosers benefit. We consider several hypotheses concerning CAs' motives. A conventional behavioral welfarist acts as a correctly informed social planner; a mistakes-projective paternalist removes options she wishes she could reject when choosing for herself; an ideals-projective paternalist seeks to align others' choices with her own aspirations. Ideals-projective paternalism provides the best explanation for interventions in the laboratory and rationalizes support for actual paternalistic policies.
December 2006Online Auctions
with David Reiley, Abdolkarim Sadrieh: w12785
The economic literature on online auctions is rapidly growing because of the enormous amount of freely available field data. Moreover, numerous innovations in auction-design features on platforms such as eBay have created excellent research opportunities. In this article, we survey the theoretical, empirical, and experimental research on bidder strategies (including the timing of bids and winner's-curse effects) and seller strategies (including reserve-price policies and the use of buy-now options) in online auctions, as well as some of the literature dealing with online-auction design (including stopping rules and multi-object pricing rules).
June 2000Last Minute Bidding and the Rules for Ending Second-Price Auctions: Theory and Evidence from a Natural Experiment on the Internet
with Alvin E. Roth: w7729
There is a great deal of late bidding on internet second price auctions. We show that this need not result from either common value properties of the objects being sold, or irrational behavior: late bidding can occur at equilibrium even in private value auctions. The reason is that very late bids have a positive probability of not being successfully submitted, and this opens a way for bidders to implicitly collude, and avoid bidding wars, in auctions such as those run by eBay, which have a fixed end time. A natural experiment is available because the auctions on Amazon, while operating under otherwise similar rules, do not have a fixed end time, but continue if necessary past the scheduled end time until ten minutes have passed without a bid. The strategic differences in the auction ...

Published: Roth, Alvin E. and Axel Ockenfels. "Last-Minute Bidding And The Rules For Ending Second-Price Auctions: Evidence From eBay And Amazon Auctions On The Internet," American Economic Review, 2002, v92(4,Sep), 1093-1103.

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