Bidding Behavior in Dutch Auctions: Insights from a Structured Literature Review

Marc T.P. Adam, Ami Eidels, Ewa Lux, and Timm Teubner
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 21, Number 3, 2016-2017, pp. 363-397.


The Dutch auction, also known as the descending-price auction or reverse clock auction, has a long-standing history in practice and in academic literature. In practice, the Dutch auction is commonly used to rapidly sell large quantities of homogeneous goods, such as cut flowers, fish, or tobacco. However, most e-commerce auction sites focus on other auction mechanisms, and overall research on human behavior in Dutch auctions is scant. To facilitate research on Dutch auctions and their applications in electronic commerce, we conduct a structured literature review of experimental studies and establish the current state of research on bidding behavior in single-unit and multi-unit Dutch auctions. The findings are based on an analysis of twenty-nine articles published in the fields of economics, information management, marketing, and operations research and management science between 1970 and 2016. This review reveals (1) the characteristics that make the Dutch auction unique compared to other auction formats, (2) the drivers of bidding behavior in Dutch auctions, and (3) an overview of how Dutch auctions can be employed in practice and to what advantage. Finally, we identify directions for future research on bidding behavior in Dutch auctions.

Key Words and Phrases: Auction bidding, descending price auctions, Dutch auction, literature review, online auctions.