The Babylonian bridal auction, described by Herodotus, is regarded as one of the earliest uses of an auction in history. Yet, to our knowledge, the literature lacks a formal equilibrium analysis of this auction. We provide such an analysis for the two-player case with complete and incomplete information, and in so doing identify what we call the "Herodotus paradox".

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Games and Economic Behavior
Erasmus School of Economics

Baye, M., Kovenock, D., & de Vries, C. (2012). The Herodotus paradox. Games and Economic Behavior, 74(1), 399–406. doi:10.1016/j.geb.2011.07.004