December 16, 2002

Contact: Sarah Ray
Posted: October 10, 2002

MIDDLEBURY, VT -Marla Weinstein, a native of Birmingham, Ala., and a senior economics major at Middlebury College, has focused her thesis research on online auctions as a fundraising strategy for charities. With financial assistance from College funds that support such student research, Weinstein has a goal?to determine if there is a type of auction that is most profitable for charities to use in their fundraising efforts. She has organized three auctions, each of which has different bidding rules. All proceeds from the auctions, which are located at the Web site, will be donated to the American Cancer Society.

The first auction took place Dec. 1-7 and raised over $1,000. It also elicited 60 bids from around the country, including a winning bid from a resident of St. Paul, Minn. The second will take place Dec. 29-Jan. 4, and the third and final auction will run from Jan. 5-11. Items available in the remaining auctions include a weekend getaway for two at the Mountain Top Inn and Resort near Killington, a Sugarbush Escape Pass, and an MP3 player.

In the first auction, items were allocated to the highest bidder who paid his bid, as in a traditional auction. In the second auction, the highest bidder will also win but he will pay the amount of the second highest bid. According to Weinstein, this arrangement is meant to simulate a live auction that often ends when the second highest bidder drops out and the winner pays slightly more than the second highest bid. In the last auction, items will go to the highest bidder, but every bidder must pay his bid regardless of whether he is the winner. This auction is similar to a lottery in the sense that all participants pay for a ticket but the chances of winning depend on how much the bidder pays.

Weinstein, and her thesis advisor, Middlebury College Assistant Professor of Economics Jeffrey Carpenter, have worked collaboratively on several projects over the past two years, but, according to Weinstein, both are particularly excited about this latest investigation.

For more information, contact auction organizers Marla Weinstein at or Jeffery Carpenter at, or contact the Middlebury College Department of Economics at (802) 443-5327.