I just got back from the Berkeley Economics annual skit party. The skit party is combined with an auction to raise money for the Graduate Economics Association. Professor Yuriy Gorodnichenko contributed a very interesting auction item: a promise to pay $500 if Christina Romer or Janet Yellen becomes Fed chair at any time in the future.
The bidding started at $50, and quickly jumped up to $200. I was bidding against Gabriel Chodorow-Reich, a fellow macro student. I chickened out and went silent after he bid $220, so he won. Immediately after, I was kicking myself for not sticking in a little longer. I think Gabe got a heck of a deal-- plus I would just love to be able to say that I had bought this unique asset.
Professor Gorodnichenko (who also swept the awards ceremony tonight, winning the Best Professor and Best Adviser awards) donated another auction item-- a check with the amount drawn from a beta distribution with parameters alpha=3 and beta=2, multiplied by $100. The beta distribution is only nonzero on the unit interval, so the check will have value between $0 and $100. The mean of the beta distribution is alpha/(alpha+beta), so the expected value should be $100 (3/5)=$60. The item went for $50 -- so everyone in the audience must have been risk averse, loss averse, financially illiterate, or liquidity constrained (or some combination, like me.) A bottle of wine from Professor David Card's vineyard was the highest-priced item, going for $240.
The most creative item was donated by grad student Kaushik Krishnan. He collected and printed all of Brad DeLong's "Liveblogging World War II" blog posts and put them into a binder, which he promises to get signed by DeLong next time he's in Berkeley. If I remember right, that went for around $40.