Auctions and Bidding

Subject ECON30026 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2010:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Three hours of lectures and seminars per week
Total Time Commitment: 12 hours per week
Prerequisites: 316-202 Intermediate Microeconomics
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: Please refer to Prerequisites and Corequisites.
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering requests for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements for this entry.

The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Prof Harry J. Paarsch


Subject Overview: Auctions have been commonplace since antiquity. In recent times, auctions often have been used to sell a variety of agricultural commodities and natural resources, while sealed-bid tenders (an auction format) continue to be used extensively by both firms and governments to procure a variety of goods and services. Moreover, companies like eBay are integral parts of the global economy. This subject is designed to introduce students to the important auction formats and pricing rules and to help them understand the basic economic theory used to analyse these institutions. Empirical evidence and practical examples will be used throughout.

On successful completion of this subject students should be able to:

  • identify the different auctions formats and pricing rules;
  • identify the components of a game;
  • describe different informational paradigms in auction theory;
  • characterise the equilibria in auctions games;
  • describe important empirical regularities in auctions;
  • identify phenomena in the real-world that can be investigated using auction theory;
  • collect and analyse data from actual auctions;
  • decide whether particular auctions are achieving the stated goals;
  • propose ways in which existing auctions might be improved.
Assessment: One 2-hour end-of-semester examination (70%) and several problem sets of approximately 3,000 words in total (30%).
Prescribed Texts:

McMillan, J., Reinventing the Bazaar, A Natural History of Markets

Recommended Texts: Paarsch, H.J. & Peters M., Auction Manuscript
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • High level of development: written communication; application of theory to practice; critical thinking; synthesis of data and other information; evaluation of data and other information;
  • moderate level of development: oral communication; problem solving; interpretation and analysis; accessing data and other information from a range of sources; receptiveness to alternative ideas;
  • some level of development: collaborative learning; team work; statistical reasoning; use of computer software.

Download PDF version.