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Auctions with Costly Information Acquisition

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  • Crémer, Jacques
  • Spiegel, Yossi
  • Zheng, Charles Zhoucheng

Abstract

We characterize optimal selling mechanisms in auction environments where bidders must incur a cost to learn their valuations. These mechanisms specify for each period, as a function of the bids in previous periods, which new potential buyers should be asked to bid. In addition, these mechanisms must induce the bidders to acquire information about their valuations and to reveal this information truthfully. Using a generalized Groves principle, we prove a very general full extraction of the surplus result: the seller can obtain the same profit as if he had full control over the bidders' acquisition of information and could have observed directly their valuations once they are informed. We also present appealing implementations of the optimal mechanism in special cases.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Iowa State University, Department of Economics in its series Staff General Research Papers with number 12709.

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Date of creation: 16 Jan 2007
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Publication status: Published in Economic Theory, January 2009, vol. 38 no. 1, pp. 41-72
Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:12709

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Postal: Iowa State University, Dept. of Economics, 260 Heady Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1070
Phone: +1 515.294.6741
Fax: +1 515.294.0221
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Web page: http://www.econ.iastate.edu
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  1. Chakraborty, Indranil & Kosmopoulou, Georgia, 2001. "Auctions with endogenous entry," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 195-200, August.
  2. Cremer, J. & Khalil, F. & Rochet, J.-C., 1997. "Strategic information gathering before a contract is offered," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 9708, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  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. Ye Lixin, 2004. "Optimal Auctions with Endogenous Entry," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-29, October.
  5. Charles Zhoucheng Zheng & Jacques Cremer & Yossef Spiegel, 2004. "Optimal search auctions," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 615, Econometric Society.
  6. Paul Klemperer, 1999. "Auction Theory: A Guide to the Literature," Economics Series Working Papers 1999-W12, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  7. McAfee, R. Preston & McMillan, John, 1987. "Auctions with entry," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 343-347.
  8. Khalil, F & Rochet, J-C, 1997. "Contracts and Productive Information Gathering," Working Papers 97-16, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
  9. Dirk Bergemann & Juuso Valimaki, 2002. "Information Acquisition and Efficient Mechanism Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(3), pages 1007-1033, May.
  10. Lewis, Tracy R & Sappington, David E M, 1997. "Information Management in Incentive Problems," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(4), pages 796-821, August.
  11. Bergemann, Dirk & Pesendorfer, Martin, 2007. "Information structures in optimal auctions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 137(1), pages 580-609, November.
  12. Preston McAfee, R. & McMillan, John, 1988. "Search mechanisms," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 99-123, February.
  13. Nicola Persico, 2000. "Information Acquisition in Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(1), pages 135-148, January.
  14. Cremer, Jacques & Spiegel, Yossi & Zheng, Charles Z., 2006. "Optimal search auctions with correlated bidder types," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 94-100, October.
  15. Cremer, J. & Khalil, F., 1991. "Gathering Information Before Signing a Contract," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 91-16, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  16. Stegeman, Mark, 1996. "Participation Costs and Efficient Auctions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 228-259, October.
  17. Levin, Dan & Smith, James L, 1994. "Equilibrium in Auctions with Entry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 585-99, June.
  18. M. L. Weitzman, 1978. "Optimal Search for the Best Alternative," Working papers 214, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  19. Myerson, Roger B, 1986. "Multistage Games with Communication," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(2), pages 323-58, March.
  20. Vishwanath, Tara, 1992. "Parallel Search for the Best Alternative," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 2(4), pages 495-507, October.
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