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Working Paper No. 1095

Price Instability in Multi-Unit Auctions

Working Paper
Anderson, Edward and Pär Holmberg (2015). “Price Instability in Multi-Unit Auctions”. IFN Working Paper No. 1095. Stockholm: Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN).

Edward Anderson, Pär Holmberg

We consider a procurement auction, where each supplier has private costs and submits a stepped supply function. We solve for a Bayesian Nash equilibrium and show that the equilibrium has a price instability in the sense that a minor change in a supplier.s cost sometimes result in a major change in the market price. In wholesale electricity markets, we predict that the bid price of the most expensive production unit can change by 1-10% due to price instability.

The price instability is reduced when suppliers have more steps in their supply functions for a given production technology. In the limit, as the number of steps increases and the cost uncertainty decreases, the Bayesian equilibrium converges to a pure-strategy NE without price instability, the Supply Function Equilibrium (SFE).

Pär Holmberg

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