Auctions with resale: a survey
Recently emerged, auction theory has become a well-established branch of theoretical economics with important practical applications. As the theory progresses, its basic assumptions become the subject of further investigation and thus new directions emerge. Microeconomics in general and auction theory in particular too often assume away aftermarket interactions, which are a common feature of real markets and have a powerful impact on strategies and incentives. Lately, however, a body of literature emerged that incorporates the possibility of resale into game-theoretic analysis of auctions. This paper reviews this literature. It highlights the role of bargaining power on the aftermarket as one of the main issues in this literature. It then reports how standard auction formats – first and second price auctions in particular – compare in terms of the seller’s revenues they generate. Then, this paper shows generalizations of Myerson’s approach to constructing optimal auctions when resale is possible; the discussed models require delicate assumptions. Next, the survey covers more specific issues: different approaches to modelling the aftermarket, decisions to enter the primary auction, effects of disclosing information from the primary auction and the role of speculators. Finally, the paper overviews empirical research on auctions with resale, the newest branch of this literature that is developing rapidly.