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Informational limitations of ascending combinatorial auctions

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  • Blumrosen, Liad
  • Nisan, Noam

Abstract

We study the inherent limitations of natural widely-used classes of ascending combinatorial auctions. Specifically, we show that ascending combinatorial auctions that do not use both non-linear prices and personalized prices cannot achieve social efficiency with general bidder valuations. We also show that the loss of efficiency can be severe and that only a diminishing fraction of the social welfare may be captured. This justifies the added complexity in the auctions suggested by, e.g., Parkes and Ungar (2000) [29] and Ausubel and Milgrom (2002) [2].

Suggested Citation

  • Blumrosen, Liad & Nisan, Noam, 2010. "Informational limitations of ascending combinatorial auctions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(3), pages 1203-1223, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:145:y:2010:i:3:p:1203-1223
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Milgrom,Paul, 2004. "Putting Auction Theory to Work," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521536721, December.
    2. Paul Milgrom, 2000. "Putting Auction Theory to Work: The Simultaneous Ascending Auction," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(2), pages 245-272, April.
    3. Demange, Gabrielle & Gale, David & Sotomayor, Marilda, 1986. "Multi-Item Auctions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, pages 863-872.
    4. Milgrom, Paul R & Weber, Robert J, 1982. "A Theory of Auctions and Competitive Bidding," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1089-1122, September.
    5. Frank Kelly & Richard Steinberg, 2000. "A Combinatorial Auction with Multiple Winners for Universal Service," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 46(4), pages 586-596, April.
    6. Lawrence M. Ausubel & Peter Cramton & R. Preston McAfee & John McMillan, 1997. "Synergies in Wireless Telephony: Evidence from the Broadband PCS Auctions," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(3), pages 497-527, September.
    7. Yossi Sheffi, 2004. "Combinatorial Auctions in the Procurement of Transportation Services," Interfaces, INFORMS, vol. 34(4), pages 245-252, August.
    8. John O. Ledyard & Mark Olson & David Porter & Joseph A. Swanson & David P. Torma, 2002. "The First Use of a Combined-Value Auction for Transportation Services," Interfaces, INFORMS, vol. 32(5), pages 4-12, October.
    9. Ausubel Lawrence M & Milgrom Paul R, 2002. "Ascending Auctions with Package Bidding," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-44, August.
    10. Cramton, Peter, 1998. "Ascending auctions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 745-756, May.
    11. Bikhchandani, Sushil & Ostroy, Joseph M., 2002. "The Package Assignment Model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 377-406, December.
    12. Gul, Faruk & Stacchetti, Ennio, 2000. "The English Auction with Differentiated Commodities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 66-95, May.
    13. Rothkopf, Michael H & Teisberg, Thomas J & Kahn, Edward P, 1990. "Why Are Vickrey Auctions Rare?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(1), pages 94-109, February.
    14. Bikhchandani, Sushil & Mamer, John W., 1997. "Competitive Equilibrium in an Exchange Economy with Indivisibilities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 385-413, June.
    15. Gul, Faruk & Stacchetti, Ennio, 1999. "Walrasian Equilibrium with Gross Substitutes," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 95-124, July.
    16. Kelso, Alexander S, Jr & Crawford, Vincent P, 1982. "Job Matching, Coalition Formation, and Gross Substitutes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1483-1504, November.
    17. Nisan, Noam & Segal, Ilya, 2006. "The communication requirements of efficient allocations and supporting prices," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 129(1), pages 192-224, July.
    18. 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.
    19. Lehmann, Benny & Lehmann, Daniel & Nisan, Noam, 2006. "Combinatorial auctions with decreasing marginal utilities," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 270-296, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lavi, Ron & Oren, Sigal, 2012. "Side-communication yields efficiency of ascending auctions: The two-items case," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 439-456.
    2. repec:eee:gamebe:v:104:y:2017:i:c:p:456-467 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Babaioff, Moshe & Blumrosen, Liad & Schapira, Michael, 2013. "The communication burden of payment determination," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 153-167.
    4. Perennes, Patricia, 2014. "Use of combinatorial auctions in the railway industry: Can the “invisible hand” draw the railway timetable?," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 175-187.
    5. Dughmi, Shaddin & Vondrák, Jan, 2015. "Limitations of randomized mechanisms for combinatorial auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 370-400.

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