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Properties of the Combinatorial Clock Auction


  • Jonathan Levin
  • Andrzej Skrzypacz


The combinatorial clock auction has become popular for large-scale spectrum awards and other uses, replacing more traditional ascending or clock auctions. We describe some surprising properties of the auction, including a wide range of ex post equilibria with demand expansion, demand reduction, and predation. Our results obtain in a standard homogeneous good setting where bidders have well-behaved linear demand curves, and suggest some practical difficulties with dynamic implementations of the Vickrey auction.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan Levin & Andrzej Skrzypacz, 2016. "Properties of the Combinatorial Clock Auction," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(9), pages 2528-2551, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:106:y:2016:i:9:p:2528-51 Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20141212

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Maarten Janssen & Bernhard Kasberger, 2016. "On the Clock of the Combinatorial Clock Auction," Vienna Economics Papers 1607, University of Vienna, Department of Economics.
    2. Aytek Erdil & Paul Klemperer, 2010. "A New Payment Rule for Core-Selecting Package Auctions," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(2-3), pages 537-547, 04-05.
    3. Paul Klemperer, 2004. "Survey of Auction Theory, from Auctions: Theory and Practice," Introductory Chapters,in: Auctions: Theory and Practice Princeton University Press.
    4. Xavier Vives, 2011. "Strategic Supply Function Competition With Private Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(6), pages 1919-1966, November.
    5. Milgrom,Paul, 2004. "Putting Auction Theory to Work," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521536721, March.
    6. Martin Bichler & Pasha Shabalin & Jürgen Wolf, 2013. "Do core-selecting Combinatorial Clock Auctions always lead to high efficiency? An experimental analysis of spectrum auction designs," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 16(4), pages 511-545, December.
    7. Paul Klemperer, 2004. "Auctions: Theory and Practice," Online economics textbooks, SUNY-Oswego, Department of Economics, number auction1, March.
    8. Paul Klemperer, 2004. "Introduction to Auctions: Theory and Practice," Introductory Chapters,in: Auctions: Theory and Practice Princeton University Press.
    9. Morgan John & Steiglitz Ken & Reis George, 2003. "The Spite Motive and Equilibrium Behavior in Auctions," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-27, April.
    10. Albert S. Kyle, 1989. "Informed Speculation with Imperfect Competition," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(3), pages 317-355.
    11. Ott, Marion & Beck, Marissa, 2013. "Incentives for Overbidding in Minimum-Revenue Core-Selecting Auctions," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79946, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    12. Maarten Janssen & Vladimir Karamychev, 2013. "Gaming in Combinatorial Clock Auctions," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-027/VII, Tinbergen Institute, revised 16 Dec 2013.
    13. Simon Loertscher & Leslie M. Marx & Tom Wilkening, 2015. "A Long Way Coming: Designing Centralized Markets with Privately Informed Buyers and Sellers," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 53(4), pages 857-897, December.
    14. Paul Klemperer, 2004. "Auctions: Theory and Practice," Online economics textbooks, SUNY-Oswego, Department of Economics, number auction1.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:oup:oxford:v:33:y:2017:i:4:p:541-571. is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Scott Duke Kominers & Alexander Teytelboym & Vincent P Crawford, 2017. "An invitation to market design," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(4), pages 541-571.
    3. Janssen, Maarten & Karamychev, Vladimir, 2017. "Raising rivals’ cost in multi-unit auctions," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 473-490.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • D47 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Market Design
    • H82 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - Governmental Property
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets


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