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The Design of Ambiguous Mechanisms

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  • Alfredo Di Tillio
  • Nenad Kos
  • Matthias Messner

Abstract

This paper considers the optimal mechanism design problem of an expected revenue maximizing principal who wants to sell a single unit of a good to an agent who is ambiguity averse in the sense of Gilboa and Schmeidler (1989). We show that the optimal static mechanism is an ambiguous mechanism. An ambiguous mechanism specifies a message space and a set of outcome functions. After showing that (a version of) the Revelation Principle holds in our environment, we give an exact characterization of the (smallest) optimal ambiguous mechanism. If the type set is composed of N (finite) types, then the (smallest) optimal ambiguous mechanism contains N - 1 outcome functions. We show that the share of the surplus that the designer can extract from the agent increases as the type set becomes larger and the probability of each single type decreases. In the limiting case where the agent’s type is drawn from a non-atomic distribution on an interval, the optimal ambiguous mechanism extracts all the rent from the agent.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University in its series Working Papers with number 446.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:446

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References

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  1. Jeffrey C. Ely & Kim-Sau Chung, 2004. "Foundations of Dominant Strategy Mechanisms," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 169, Econometric Society.
  2. Dirk Bergemann & Karl Schlag, 2005. "Robust Monopoly Pricing," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1527RR, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Sep 2008.
  3. Sujoy Mukerji & Peter Klibanoff, 2002. "A Smooth Model of Decision,Making Under Ambiguity," Economics Series Working Papers 113, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  4. Elyakime, Bernard & Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Loisel, Patrice & Vuong, Quang, 1993. "First-Price Sealed-Bid Auctions with Secret Reservation Prices," IDEI Working Papers 27, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  5. Gilboa,Itzhak, 2009. "Theory of Decision under Uncertainty," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521741231, November.
  6. Subir Bose & Arup Daripa, 2008. "A Dynamic Mechanism and Surplus Extraction Under Ambiguity," Discussion Papers in Economics 08/24, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
  7. Nenad Kos & Matthias Messner, 2010. "Extremal Incentive Compatible Transfers," Working Papers 359, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  8. Andreas Pape & Subir Bose & Emre Ozdenoren, 2004. "Optimal auctions with ambiguity," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 609, Econometric Society.
  9. Turocy, Theodore L., 2008. "Auction choice for ambiguity-averse sellers facing strategic uncertainty," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 155-179, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Kos, Nenad & Messner, Matthias, 2013. "Incentive compatibility in non-quasilinear environments," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 121(1), pages 12-14.
  2. Martin Szydlowski, 2012. "Ambiguity in Dynamic Contracts," Discussion Papers 1543, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.

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