Caio Waisman
Job Market Candidate

Stanford University
Department of Economics
579 Serra Mall
Stanford, CA 94305

Curriculum Vitae

Quantitative Marketing, Industrial Organization, Applied Econometrics
Expected Graduation Date:
June, 2018

Harikesh S. Nair

Bradley J. Larsen

Han Hong

Working papers

Selling mechanisms for perishable goods: An empirical analysis of an online resale market for event tickets (Job Market Paper)

Which selling mechanisms should sellers use to sell their goods? Even though this is one of the most fundamental decisions a seller can make, there is little empirical research on mechanism choice. This paper takes a step in this direction by analyzing the choice between auctions and posted prices in the context of a scarce perishable good: National Football League (NFL) tickets. Using data from eBay, this study estimates a structural model in which heterogeneous, forward-looking sellers optimally choose which selling mechanism they use. Counterfactual results suggest that sellers would experience an average 11.45% increase in expected revenues if auctions were removed and an almost 26% decrease if posted prices were. In turn, consumers would be unambiguously harmed if the platform specialized in either mechanism. These results can be useful not only in the context of perishable goods but also to improve general platform design.

The simple empirics of optimal online auctions (with Dominic Coey, Bradley Larsen, and Kane Sweeney)

We study reserve prices computed to maximize the expected profit of the seller based on historical observations of incomplete bid data. Given a sufficient history of auctions, these estimated reserve prices will be optimal reserve prices in a very general environment (asymmetric, arbitrarily correlated private values). We require that the econometrician observe the first and second highest bids from previous no-reserve auctions, but do not require observations of the number of bidders. Such data are typically available to the auction designer in online auctions for advertising or e-commerce. The direct approach to computing reserve prices circumvents the need to fully recover distributions of bidder valuations. We derive asymptotic results and also provide a new bound, based on the empirical Rademacher complexity, for the number of historical auctions observations needed in order for revenue under the estimated reserve price to approximate revenue under the optimal reserve arbitrarily closely. This simple approach to estimating reserves may be particularly useful for auctions in Big Data settings, where traditional empirical auctions methods may be costly to implement. We illustrate the approach with e-commerce auction data from eBay. We also demonstrate how this idea can be extended to estimate all objects necessary to implement the Myerson (1981) optimal auction.

Intrinsic motivation and performance: Jewish-American soldiers in World War II

This paper assesses the potential influence of intrinsic motivation on individuals' performance in the context of Jewish-American soldiers in World War II. In particular, it analyzes whether these soldiers performed differently when combating Germans as opposed to Japanese. Using medals, length of service, and medals per length of service as measures of performance and exploiting a difference-in-differences empirical strategy, it finds that Jewish soldiers, on average, received fewer medals in Europe than in the Pacific. This effect is driven by the length of service, as Jewish soldiers, unlike non-Jewish ones, perished three months sooner in Europe than in the Pacific. Consequently, there is no differential effect on the number of medals received per month of service among Jewish soldiers.

Published Papers

Ascending auctions with bidder asymmetries (with Dominic Coey, Bradley Larsen, and Kane Sweeney)
Quantitative Economics (2017).
We present a partial identification approach for ascending auctions with bidder asymmetries, where bidders' asymmetric types may be unobservable to the econometrician. Our approach yields sharp bounds and builds on and generalizes other recent bounds approaches for correlated private values ascending auctions. When bidder identities are observable, our approach yields tighter bounds than previous approaches that ignore asymmetry, demonstrating that bidder asymmetries can function as an aid rather than a hindrance to identification. We present a nonparametric estimation and inference approach relying on our identification argument and apply it to U.S. timber auctions, finding that bounds on optimal reserve prices and other objects of interest are noticeably tighter when exploiting bidder asymmetries.

Identification and estimation of discriminatory auctions when bidders have private values and singleton demand
Economics Letters (2016).
This note shows how to identify and estimate the distribution of valuations of bidders participating in discriminatory auctions when valuations are private and bidders have singleton demand.

The effects of exposure to hyperinflation on occupational choice (with Joćo M.P. de Mello and Eduardo Zilberman)
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization (2014).
We use data on immigrants who live in the United States to study the effects of exposure to hyperinflation on occupational choice. To do so, we calculate the number of years an individual had lived under hyperinflation before arriving to the US. We find that its marginal effect on the probability of being self-employed instead of wage-earner is 0.87 percentage point. This finding suggests that the macroeconomic environment one lives in permanently affects his economic behavior. The estimated effect depends on the age individuals had when exposed to hyperinflation. In particular, it vanishes for those over the age of 40.