Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance,
Stockholm School of Economics

No 273: Auctioned and Re-Auctioned Children in 19th Century Sweden

Mats A. Bergman () and Sofia Lundberg ()
Additional contact information
Mats A. Bergman: Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics, Postal: P.O. Box 6501, SE-113 83 Stockholm, Sweden
Sofia Lundberg: Department of Economics, Postal: Umeå University, SE-901 87 Umeå, Sweden

Abstract: During the 19th century, poor and orphan Swedish children were boarded out. The foster-parents' compensation was determined in English auctions. Some children were re-auctioned. We use historical data from such auctions to study whether informational asymmetry and possibly adverse selection affected the outcome in the market for re-auctioned children. The empirical findings are consistent with adverse selection.

Keywords: Adverse selection; asymmetric information; common value; English auction; private values.

JEL-codes: D44; N33

32 pages, October 22, 1998

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