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Hierarchical package bidding: A paper & pencil combinatorial auction


  • Goeree, Jacob K.
  • Holt, Charles A.


We introduce a new combinatorial auction format based on a simple, transparent pricing mechanism tailored for the hierarchical package structure proposed by Rothkopf, Pekec, and Harstad to avoid computational complexity [Rothkopf, M., Pekec, A., Harstad, R., 1998, Computationally manageable combinatorial auctions. Manage. Sci. 44, 1131-1147]. This combination provides the feedback necessary for bidders in multi-round auctions to discern winning bidding strategies for subsequent rounds and to coordinate responses to aggressive package bids. The resulting mechanism is compared to two leading alternatives in a series of laboratory experiments involving varying degrees of value synergies. Based on these "wind tunnel" tests the FCC has decided to use hierarchical package bidding in a segment of the upcoming 700 MHz auction.

Suggested Citation

  • Goeree, Jacob K. & Holt, Charles A., 2010. "Hierarchical package bidding: A paper & pencil combinatorial auction," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 146-169, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:70:y:2010:i:1:p:146-169

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jeffrey S. Banks & John O. Ledyard & David P. Porter, 1989. "Allocating Uncertain and Unresponsive Resources: An Experimental Approach," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 20(1), pages 1-25, Spring.
    2. Anthony M. Kwasnica & John O. Ledyard & Dave Porter & Christine DeMartini, 2005. "A New and Improved Design for Multiobject Iterative Auctions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 51(3), pages 419-434, March.
    3. Bykowsky, Mark M & Cull, Robert J & Ledyard, John O, 2000. "Mutually Destructive Bidding: The FCC Auction Design Problem," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 205-228, May.
    4. Paul Milgrom, 2007. "Simplified Mechanisms with Applications to Sponsored Search and Package Auctions," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001454, UCLA Department of Economics.
    5. Michael H. Rothkopf & Aleksandar Pekev{c} & Ronald M. Harstad, 1998. "Computationally Manageable Combinational Auctions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 44(8), pages 1131-1147, August.
    6. S.J. Rassenti & V.L. Smith & R.L. Bulfin, 1982. "A Combinatorial Auction Mechanism for Airport Time Slot Allocation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 402-417, Autumn.
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    Cited by:

    1. Holt, Charles A. & Shobe, William M., 2016. "Reprint of: Price and quantity collars for stabilizing emission allowance prices: Laboratory experiments on the EU ETS market stability reserve," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 69-86.
    2. repec:oup:oxford:v:33:y:2017:i:4:p:541-571. is not listed on IDEAS
    3. 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.
    4. Goeree, Jacob K. & Lien, Yuanchuan, 2014. "An equilibrium analysis of the simultaneous ascending auction," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 153(C), pages 506-533.
    5. Kagel, John H. & Lien, Yuanchuan & Milgrom, Paul, 2014. "Ascending prices and package bidding: Further experimental analysis," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 210-231.
    6. Larson, Nathan & Elmaghraby, Wedad, 2008. "Procurement auctions with avoidable fixed costs: an experimental approach," MPRA Paper 32163, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2011.
    7. Iftekhar, Md Sayed & Tisdell, John G., 2015. "Bidding and performance in multiple unit combinatorial fishery quota auctions: Role of information feedbacks," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 233-243.
    8. Kemal Guler & Martin Bichler & Ioannis Petrakis, 2016. "Ascending Combinatorial Auctions with Risk Averse Bidders," Group Decision and Negotiation, Springer, vol. 25(3), pages 609-639, May.
    9. Bichler, Martin & Goeree, Jacob K., 2017. "Frontiers in spectrum auction design," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 372-391.
    10. Gediminas Adomavicius & Shawn P. Curley & Alok Gupta & Pallab Sanyal, 2012. "Effect of Information Feedback on Bidder Behavior in Continuous Combinatorial Auctions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(4), pages 811-830, April.
    11. Kaplan, Todd R. & Zamir, Shmuel, 2015. "Advances in Auctions," Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, Elsevier.
    12. Eric Budish & Judd B. Kessler, 2016. "Can Agents “Report Their Types”? An Experiment that Changed the Course Allocation Mechanism at Wharton," NBER Working Papers 22448, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Chernomaz, Kirill & Levin, Dan, 2012. "Efficiency and synergy in a multi-unit auction with and without package bidding: An experimental study," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 611-635.


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