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Optimal search auctions

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  • Charles Zhoucheng Zheng
  • Jacques Cremer
  • Yossef Spiegel

Abstract

We study the design of profit maximizing single unit auctions under the assumption that the seller needs to incur costs to contact prospective bidders and inform them about the auction. When bidders' types are independent (with^Mpossibly bidder-specific distributions) and their valuations are possibly interdependent, the seller's problem can be reduced to a (stochastic, history-contingent) search problem in which the surplus is measured in terms of virtual utilities minus search costs. Compared to the socially efficient mechanism, the optimal mechanism features fewer participants, longer search conditional on the same set of participants, and inefficient sequence of entry. When bidders' types are correlated, the seller cannot fully extract the social surplus for sure but can extract it with an arbitrarily high probability.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Econometric Society in its series Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings with number 615.

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Date of creation: 11 Aug 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ecm:nasm04:615

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Keywords: optimal auction; optimal search; endogenous entry;

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References

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  1. Wolfgang Pesendorfer & Asher Wolinsky, 1998. "Second Opinions and Price Competition Inefficiency in the Market for Expert Advice," Discussion Papers 1229, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. Gershkov, Alex & Szentes, Balázs, 2009. "Optimal voting schemes with costly information acquisition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(1), pages 36-68, January.
  3. Burguet, Roberto, 1996. "Optimal Repeated Purchases When Sellers Are Learning about Costs," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 440-455, February.
  4. Crémer, Jacques & Spiegel, Yossi & Zheng, Charles, 2003. "Optimal Selling Mechanisms wth Costly Information Acquisition," IDEI Working Papers 205, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  5. Bergemann, Dirk & Välimäki, Juuso, 2006. "Information in Mechanism Design," CEPR Discussion Papers 5494, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Preston McAfee, R. & McMillan, John, 1988. "Search mechanisms," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 99-123, February.
  7. Vishwanath, Tara, 1992. "Parallel Search for the Best Alternative," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 2(4), pages 495-507, October.
  8. Dirk Bergemann & Juuso Vaimaki, 2000. "Information Acquisition and Efficient Mechanism Design," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1248, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  9. Asher Wolinsky, 1993. "Competition in a Market for Informed Experts' Services," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 24(3), pages 380-398, Autumn.
  10. David Pérez-Castrillo & Marilda Sotomayor, 2003. "A Selling Mechanism," Revista Brasileira de Economia, FGV/EPGE Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil), vol. 57(4), pages 931-952, October.
  11. Ye Lixin, 2004. "Optimal Auctions with Endogenous Entry," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-29, October.
  12. Weitzman, Martin L, 1979. "Optimal Search for the Best Alternative," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(3), pages 641-54, May.
  13. Levin, Dan & Smith, James L, 1994. "Equilibrium in Auctions with Entry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 585-99, June.
  14. Roger B. Myerson, 1978. "Optimal Auction Design," Discussion Papers 362, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  15. Paul Milgrom & Ilya Segal, 2002. "Envelope Theorems for Arbitrary Choice Sets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 583-601, March.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Gal, Shmuel & Landsberger, Michael & Nemirovski, Arkadi, 2007. "Participation in auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 75-103, July.
  2. Hagedorn, Marcus, 2009. "The value of information for auctioneers," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(5), pages 2197-2208, September.
  3. Crémer, Jacques & Spiegel, Yossi & Zheng, Charles Zhoucheng, 2006. "Optimal Search Auctions with Correlated Bidder Types," Staff General Research Papers 12663, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  4. Shi, Xianwen, 2012. "Optimal auctions with information acquisition," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 666-686.
  5. Jeremy Bulow & Paul Klemperer, 2009. "Why Do Sellers (Usually) Prefer Auctions?," Economics Papers 2009-W05, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  6. Jacques Crémer & Yossi Spiegel & Charles Zheng, 2009. "Auctions with costly information acquisition," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 41-72, January.
  7. Laurent Lamy, 2010. ""Upping the ante": How to design efficient auctions with entry?," PSE Working Papers halshs-00564888, HAL.
  8. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00564888 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Pancs, Romans, 2013. "Sequential negotiations with costly information acquisition," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 522-543.
  10. Szech, Nora, 2011. "Optimal disclosure of costly information packages in auctions," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(4-5), pages 462-469.

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