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On a Quest for Ancient Coins, Steiglitz Finds Inspiration for a Book and a Course

Ken Steiglitz is happy to admit that he is an eBay addict. For starters, his pre-dawn "grazing" on the popular Internet trading site has yielded a trove of ancient bronze coins to add to his personal collection. Even more, he has discovered a wealth of information to advance the field of auction theory, which lies at the intersection of computer science, economics, mathematics and psychology. Steiglitz explores this convergence in his upcoming book, "Snipers, Shills & Sharks: eBay and Human Behavior," due to be published in May by Princeton University Press. Using actual eBay bidding histories as case studies, Steiglitz chronicles the strategies people use in online auctions and explores how their behavior at times supports, but often deviates from, what is predicted by classic theory.

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