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Properties of scoring auctions


  • John Asker
  • Estelle Cantillon


This article studies scoring auctions, a procedure commonly used to buy differentiated products: suppliers submit offers on all dimensions of the good (price, level of nonmonetary attributes), and these are evaluated using a scoring rule. We provide a systematic analysis of equilibrium behavior in scoring auctions when suppliers' private information is multidimensional (characterization of equilibrium behavior and expected utility equivalence). In addition, we show that scoring auctions dominate several other commonly used procedures for buying differentiated products, including menu auctions, beauty contests, and price-only auctions with minimum quality thresholds. Copyright (c)2008, RAND.

Suggested Citation

  • John Asker & Estelle Cantillon, 2008. "Properties of scoring auctions," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(1), pages 69-85.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:randje:v:39:y:2008:i:1:p:69-85

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bushnell, James B & Oren, Shmuel S, 1994. "Bidder Cost Revelation in Electric Power Auctions," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 5-26, February.
    2. Gary Biglaiser & Claudio Mezzetti, 2000. "Incentive Auctions and Information Revelation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 31(1), pages 145-164, Spring.
    3. de Frutos, Maria-Angeles & Pechlivanos, Lambros, 2006. "Second-price common-value auctions under multidimensional uncertainty," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 43-71, April.
    4. Ewerhart, Christian & Fieseler, Karsten, 2003. " Procurement Auctions and Unit-Price Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(3), pages 569-581, Autumn.
    5. Bikhchandani, Sushil & Haile, Philip A. & Riley, John G., 2002. "Symmetric Separating Equilibria in English Auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 19-27, January.
    6. Fernando Branco, 1997. "The Design of Multidimensional Auctions," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 28(1), pages 63-81, Spring.
    7. Fang, Hanming & Parreiras, Sergio O., 2002. "Equilibrium of Affiliated Value Second Price Auctions with Financially Constrained Bidders: The Two-Bidder Case," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 215-236, May.
    8. John Asker & Estelle Cantillon, 2010. "Procurement when price and quality matter," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 41(1), pages 1-34.
    9. Riley, John G & Samuelson, William F, 1981. "Optimal Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 381-392, June.
    10. Hanming Fang & Stephen Morris, 2012. "Multidimensional Private Value Auctions," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Robust Mechanism Design The Role of Private Information and Higher Order Beliefs, chapter 9, pages 319-356 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    11. Che, Yeon-Koo & Gale, Ian, 2006. "Revenue comparisons for auctions when bidders have arbitrary types," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 1(1), pages 95-118, March.
    12. Yeon-Koo Che & Ian Gale, 1998. "Standard Auctions with Financially Constrained Bidders," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 65(1), pages 1-21.
    13. Jean-Charles Rochet & Lars A. Stole, 2002. "Nonlinear Pricing with Random Participation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 277-311.
    14. Roger B. Myerson, 1981. "Optimal Auction Design," Mathematics of Operations Research, INFORMS, vol. 6(1), pages 58-73, February.
    15. Patrick Bajari & Stephanie Houghton & Steven Tadelis, 2004. "Bidding for Incompete Contracts," Working Papers 2004.141, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    16. Chao, Hung-Po & Wilson, Robert, 2002. "Multi-dimensional Procurement Auctions for Power Reserves: Robust Incentive-Compatible Scoring and Settlement Rules," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 161-183, September.
    17. Maskin, Eric S & Riley, John G, 1984. "Optimal Auctions with Risk Averse Buyers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(6), pages 1473-1518, November.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
    • L24 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Contracting Out; Joint Ventures


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