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Less fighting than expected—experiments with wars of attrition and all-pay auctions

Hannah Hörisch and Oliver Kirchkamp

While all-pay auctions are experimentally well researched, we do not have much laboratory evidence on wars of attrition. This paper tries to fill this gap. Technically, there are only few differences between wars of attrition and all-pay auctions. Behaviourally, however, we find striking differences: As many studies, our experiment finds overbidding in all-pay auctions. In contrast, in wars of attrition we observe systematic underbidding.

We study bids and expenditure in different experimental frames and matching procedures and tie in with the literature on stepwise linear bidding functions.

JEL classification C72, C92, D44, E62, H30