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Ambiguous beliefs and mechanism design

  • Bodoh-Creed, Aaron L.
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    This paper develops a payoff equivalence theorem for mechanisms with ambiguity averse participants with preferences of the Maxmin Expected Utility (MEU) form (Gilboa and Schmeidler, 1989). We use our payoff equivalence result to explicitly characterize the revenue maximizing private value auction mechanism for agents with arbitrary forms of ambiguous beliefs. We also show that the revenue ranking between first and second price auctions is sensitive to the form of ambiguity aversion. Our payoff equivalence techniques allow us to study the constrained efficient, budget balanced bilateral trade mechanism and show that increased ambiguity improves the efficiency of the mechanism. In addition, we characterize the revenue maximizing, efficient bilateral trade mechanism and show that heightened ambiguity lowers ex ante budget deficits.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0899825612000425
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Games and Economic Behavior.

    Volume (Year): 75 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 518-537

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:75:y:2012:i:2:p:518-537
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622836

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    1. Ghirardato, Paolo & Marinacci, Massimo, 2002. "Ambiguity Made Precise: A Comparative Foundation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 102(2), pages 251-289, February.
    2. J. Riley & E. Maskin, 1981. "Optimal Auctions with Risk Averse Buyers," Working papers 311, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    3. Roger B. Myerson & Mark A. Satterthwaite, 1981. "Efficient Mechanisms for Bilateral Trading," Discussion Papers 469S, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    4. Kin Chung Lo, 1998. "Sealed bid auctions with uncertainty averse bidders," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 1-20.
    5. Truman F. Bewley, 1986. "Knightian Decision Theory: Part 1," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 807, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    6. John G. Riley & William Samuelson, 1979. "Optimal Auctions," UCLA Economics Working Papers 152, UCLA Department of Economics.
    7. Bose, Subir & Ozdenoren, Emre & Pape, Andreas, 2006. "Optimal auctions with ambiguity," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 1(4), pages 411-438, December.
    8. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
    9. Bulow, Jeremy & Roberts, John, 1989. "The Simple Economics of Optimal Auctions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1060-90, October.
    10. Itzhak Gilboa & Massimo Marinacci, 2011. "Ambiguity and the Bayesian Paradigm," Working Papers 379, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    11. David Ahn & Syngjoo Choi & Douglas Gale & Shachar Kariv, 2008. "Estimating Ambiguity Aversion in a Portfolio Choice Experiment," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000001989, David K. Levine.
    12. Salo, Ahti A & Weber, Martin, 1995. "Ambiguity Aversion in First-Price Sealed-Bid Auctions," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 123-37, September.
    13. Levin, Dan & Ozdenoren, Emre, 2004. "Auctions with uncertain numbers of bidders," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 118(2), pages 229-251, October.
    14. Paul Milgrom & Ilya Segal, 2002. "Envelope Theorems for Arbitrary Choice Sets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 583-601, March.
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