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Economic Dynamics of Agents in Multiple Auctions

Preist, Chris; Byde, Andrew; Bartolini, Claudio

HPL-2001-107

Keyword(s): auctions; electronic commerce; agents; negotiation

Abstract: Over the last few years, electronic auctions have become an increasingly important aspect of e-commerce, both in the business to business and business to consumer domains. As a result of this, it is often possible to find many auctions selling similar goods on the web. However, when an individual is attempting to purchase such a good, they will usually bid in one, or a small number, of such auctions. This results in two forms of inefficiency. Firstly, the individual may pay more for the good than would be expected in an ideal market. Secondly, some sellers may fail to make a sale that could take place in an ideal market. In this paper, we present an agent that is able to participate in multiple auctions for a given good, placing bids appropriately to secure the cheapest price. We present experiments to show: 1. Current auction markets on the web are inefficient, with trades taking place away from equilibrium price, and not all benefit from trade being extracted. 2. Our agent is able to exploit these inefficiencies, resulting in it making higher profits that the simple strategy of bidding in a small number of auctions. 3. As more participants use our agent, the market becomes more efficient. When all participants use the agent, all trades take place close to equilibrium price, and the market approaches ideal behaviour.

7 Pages

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