Informational limitations of ascending combinatorial auctions
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)  and Ausubel and Milgrom (2002) .
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