On the uniqueness of Groves mechanisms and the payoff equivalence principle
Consider a standard mechanism design setting with quasi-linear preferences and private valuations. From Holmström (1979), we know that if the valuations are smooth with respect to types then any efficient, dominant strategy mechanism is in the class of Groves mechanisms. Here I show that, given regular assumptions on the primitives of the design problem, a weaker condition that includes the case of non-smooth valuations is sufficient and necessary for the uniqueness of Groves mechanisms among all efficient, dominant strategy mechanisms. This condition, which imposes a restriction on the behavior of the one-sided directional derivatives of the valuation functions with respect to individual types, is also shown to be sufficient and necessary to obtain the Payoff Equivalence principle for dominant strategy mechanisms whose choice rules are affine maximizers.
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