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Auctions with costly information acquisition Constrained Bidders

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  • Jacques Cremer
  • Yossi Spiegel
  • Charles Z. Zheng

Abstract

We consider auction environments in which bidders must incur a cost to learn their valuations and study the optimal selling mechanisms in such environments. 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 buyers to both acquire and to reveal truthfully their valuations. 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 buyers’ 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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Paper provided by Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science in its series Discussion Papers with number 1420.

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Date of creation: May 2004
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Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1420

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Keywords: mechanism design; selling mechanisms; auctions; information acquisition; search procedures;

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References

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  1. Klemperer, P., 1999. "Auction Theory: a Guide to the Literature," Economics Papers 1999-w12, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  2. Weitzman, Martin L, 1979. "Optimal Search for the Best Alternative," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(3), pages 641-54, May.
  3. Cremer, J. & Khalil, F & Rochet, J.-C., 1996. "Strategic Information Gathering Before a Contract is Offered," Papers 976.425, Toulouse - GREMAQ.
  4. Burguet, Roberto, 1996. "Optimal Repeated Purchases When Sellers Are Learning about Costs," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 440-455, February.
  5. Chakraborty, Indranil & Kosmopoulou, Georgia, 2001. "Auctions with endogenous entry," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 195-200, August.
  6. Roger B. Myerson, 1984. "Multistage Games with Communication," Discussion Papers 590, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  7. Bergemann, Dirk & Pesendorfer, Martin, 2001. "Information Structures in Optimal Auctions," CEPR Discussion Papers 2991, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. 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.
  9. McAfee, R. Preston & McMillan, John, 1987. "Auctions with entry," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 343-347.
  10. Cremer, J. & Khalil, F. & Rochet, J-C., 1997. "Contracts and productive information gathering," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 9707, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  11. Vishwanath, Tara, 1992. "Parallel Search for the Best Alternative," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 2(4), pages 495-507, October.
  12. Nicola Persico, 2000. "Information Acquisition in Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(1), pages 135-148, January.
  13. Dirk Bergemann & Juuso Vaimaki, 2000. "Information Acquisition and Efficient Mechanism Design," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1248, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  14. 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.
  15. Preston McAfee, R. & McMillan, John, 1988. "Search mechanisms," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 99-123, February.
  16. Stegeman, Mark, 1996. "Participation Costs and Efficient Auctions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 228-259, October.
  17. Ye Lixin, 2004. "Optimal Auctions with Endogenous Entry," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-29, October.
  18. Levin, Dan & Smith, James L, 1994. "Equilibrium in Auctions with Entry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 585-99, June.
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