Chinese auction

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Chinese auction is a derogatory[1][2] term for a type of the all-pay auction, where the probability of winning depends on the relative size of a participant's bid.[3] The choice of the winner is done by a lottery, whereby the bidders compete for a higher chance of winning.[3]

It is also known as penny raffle, chance auction and tricky tray.[1][4]


The origin of the name is unknown[3] but is thought to originated from the 19th Century when the term "Chinese" came to be used to mean cheap and described the inexpensive cost of the raffle and prizes.[1][2]

There is no connection to Chinese culture.[1]


Chinese auctions are usually conducted during charity events for fundraising.[5] Political elections and patent races can be modeled as Chinese auctions, in which the chance of winning is seen as proportional to the amount spent.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d "Opinion: With Certain Words, Watch Your Mouth". The New York Times. 12 March 2006. Retrieved 28 October 2023.
  2. ^ a b Carlin, Blair (5 August 2020). "What's a Chinese Auction? Overview & Modern Alternatives". OneCause. Retrieved 2 May 2024.
  3. ^ a b c Benegas, Mauricio (1 January 2015). "Bidding behavior in a symmetric Chinese auction". EconomiA. 16 (1): 93–110. doi:10.1016/j.econ.2015.03.003. hdl:10419/179589. ISSN 1517-7580. S2CID 154752695.
  4. ^ MCLENNAN, Andy (2018). "Efficient disposal equilibria of pseudomarkets" (PDF). Workshop on Game Theory: 8.
  5. ^ Heiss, Renee (2007). Helping Kids Help: Organizing Successful Charitable Projects. Chicago Review Press. ISBN 978-1-56976-211-0.
  6. ^ Shor, Mikhael. "Chinese Auction - Game Theory .net". Retrieved 28 October 2023.