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Multi-unit auctions with budget limits

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  • Dobzinski, Shahar
  • Lavi, Ron
  • Nisan, Noam

Abstract

We study multi-unit auctions for bidders that have a budget constraint, a situation very common in practice that has received relatively little attention in the auction theory literature. Our main result is an impossibility: there is no deterministic auction that (1) is individually rational and dominant-strategy incentive-compatible, (2) makes no positive transfers, and (3) always produces a Pareto optimal outcome. In contrast, we show that Ausubelʼs “clinching auction” satisfies all these properties when the budgets are public knowledge. Moreover, we prove that the “clinching auction” is the unique auction that satisfies all these properties when there are two players. This uniqueness result is the cornerstone of the impossibility result. Few additional related results are given, including some results on the revenue of the clinching auction and on the case where the items are divisible.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Games and Economic Behavior.

Volume (Year): 74 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 486-503

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Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:74:y:2012:i:2:p:486-503

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622836

Related research

Keywords: Multi-unit auctions; Budget constraints; Pareto optimality;

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References

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  1. Kagel, John H & Levin, Dan, 2001. "Behavior in Multi-unit Demand Auctions: Experiments with Uniform Price and Dynamic Vickrey Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(2), pages 413-54, March.
  2. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Robert, Jacques, 1996. "Optimal auction with financially constrained buyers," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 181-186, August.
  3. Eric Budish & Estelle Cantillon, 2012. "The Multi-unit Assignment Problem: Theory and Evidence from Course Allocation at Harvard," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/99376, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  4. Sandro Brusco & Giuseppe Lopomo, 2004. "Simultaneous Ascending Bid Auctions with Privately Known Budget Constraints," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000373, UCLA Department of Economics.
  5. Sushil Bikhchandani & Shurojit Chatterji & Ron Lavi & Ahuva Mu'alem & Noam Nisan & Arunava Sen, 2006. "Weak Monotonicity Characterizes Deterministic Dominant-Strategy Implementation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(4), pages 1109-1132, 07.
  6. Benoit, Jean-Pierre & Krishna, Vijay, 2001. "Multiple-Object Auctions with Budget Constrained Bidders," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(1), pages 155-79, January.
  7. Mishra, Debasis & Parkes, David C., 2009. "Multi-item Vickrey-Dutch auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 326-347, May.
  8. Paul Milgrom, 2003. "Matching with Contracts," Working Papers 03003, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  9. Che, Yeon-Koo & Gale, Ian, 1998. "Standard Auctions with Financially Constrained Bidders," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(1), pages 1-21, January.
  10. Goldberg, Andrew V. & Hartline, Jason D. & Karlin, Anna R. & Saks, Michael & Wright, Andrew, 2006. "Competitive auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 242-269, May.
  11. Maskin, Eric S., 2000. "Auctions, development, and privatization: Efficient auctions with liquidity-constrained buyers," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(4-6), pages 667-681, May.
  12. Mallesh M. Pai & Rakesh Vohra, 2008. "Optimal Auctions with Financially Constrained Bidders," Discussion Papers 1471, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  13. Ashlagi Itai & Braverman Mark & Hassidim Avinatan & Lavi Ron & Tennenholtz Moshe, 2010. "Position Auctions with Budgets: Existence and Uniqueness," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-32, May.
  14. Motty Perry & Philip J. Reny, 2005. "An Efficient Multi-Unit Ascending Auction," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(2), pages 567-592.
  15. Lawrence M. Ausubel, 2004. "An Efficient Ascending-Bid Auction for Multiple Objects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1452-1475, December.
  16. Paul Milgrom & Ilya Segal, 2002. "Envelope Theorems for Arbitrary Choice Sets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 583-601, March.
  17. John Hatfield, 2009. "Strategy-proof, efficient, and nonbossy quota allocations," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 33(3), pages 505-515, September.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Rica Gonen & Anat Lerner, 2013. "The Incompatibility of Pareto Optimality and Dominant-Strategy Incentive Compatibility in Sufficiently-Anonymous Budget-Constrained Quasilinear Settings," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(4), pages 690-710, November.
  2. Condorelli, Daniele, 2013. "Market and non-market mechanisms for the optimal allocation of scarce resources," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 582-591.
  3. Lavi, Ron & May, Marina, 2012. "A note on the incompatibility of strategy-proofness and Pareto-optimality in quasi-linear settings with public budgets," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 100-103.
  4. Hafalir, Isa E. & Ravi, R. & Sayedi, Amin, 2012. "A near Pareto optimal auction with budget constraints," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 699-708.

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