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Optimality and Robustness of the English Auction

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  • Lopomo, Giuseppe

Abstract

This paper attempts to reconcile the observed popularity of the English auction with the hypothesis that the trading mechanism is chosen with the objective of maximizing the seller's expected revenue. Under the assumptions of Milgrom and Weber's [20] 'general symmetric model,' I show the following three results. First, the 'augumented' English auction, in which the auctioneer sets the reserve price after all but one bidder have dropped out, generates at least as much seller's expected revenue as any ex post incentive-compatible (EPIC) and individually rational (EPIR) direct mechanisms. EPIC and EPIR direct mechanisms correspond to "belief-free" selling procedures. Thus this restriction of the set of feasible selling mechanisms aims at capturing a notion of robustness with respect to pertubations of the buyers' beliefs about their opponents' private information. Second, in the larger set of mechanisms, characterized by the property that 'losers do not pay,' ther! e exist auctions that generate a higher seller's expected revenue than the (augmented) English auction. Third, with two buyers, for a large class of signals' distributions, the augmented English auction maximizes the seller's expected revenue among all selling procedures where the loser does not pay and each buyer's payment is nondecreaseing in his own signal. With private values, these two conditions are satisfied by many equilibria in a class of bidding mechanisms, which includes approximations of both the Dutch auction and the English auction with discrete price increments. With more than two buyers, the English auction is optmal among all ex post efficient mechanisms where the losers do not pay and each buyer's payment is monotone in his signal.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

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  • Lopomo, Giuseppe, 2001. "Optimality and Robustness of the English Auction," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 219-240, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:36:y:2001:i:2:p:219-240
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Paul R. Milgrom, 1985. "Auction Theory," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 779, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    2. Roger B. Myerson, 1978. "Optimal Auction Design," Discussion Papers 362, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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    Cited by:

    1. David Genesove & James Hansen, 2014. "Predicting Dwelling Prices with Consideration of the Sales Mechanism," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp2014-09, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    2. Laurent Lamy, 2013. "“Upping the ante”: how to design efficient auctions with entry?," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 44(2), pages 194-214, June.
    3. Hannu Vartiainen, 2013. "Auction Design Without Commitment," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 316-342, April.
    4. Jeremy Bulow & Paul Klemperer, 2009. "Why Do Sellers (Usually) Prefer Auctions?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1544-1575, September.
    5. Laurent Lamy, 2010. ""Upping the ante": How to design efficient auctions with entry?," Working Papers halshs-00564888, HAL.
    6. Mezzetti, Claudio & Tsetlin, Ilia, 2009. "Auctions in which losers set the price," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 855-864, July.
    7. 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.
    8. Krishna, Vijay, 2003. "Asymmetric English auctions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 112(2), pages 261-288, October.
    9. Ruqu Wang & Jun Zhang, 2010. "Common Value Auctions with Return Policies," Working Papers 1235, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    10. Lamy, Laurent, 2009. "The Shill Bidding Effect versus the Linkage Principle," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(1), pages 390-413, January.
    11. Cadsby, C. Bram & Du, Ninghua & Wang, Ruqu & Zhang, Jun, 2016. "Goodwill Can Hurt: A theoretical and experimental investigation of return policies in auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 224-238.
    12. Dominic Coey & Bradley Larsen & Kane Sweeney, 2014. "The Bidder Exclusion Effect," NBER Working Papers 20523, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • L5 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy
    • L1 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance

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