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Auction theory: a guided tour

  • Roberto Burguet

    (Colegio de México e Instituto de Análisis Económico (CSIC))

I present an overview of what has been the theoretical analysis of auctions in the last two decades. The goal is to offer a systematic exposition of the main issue addressed by this literature with more emphasis on why than on what. For that, I present a unified framework that takes the reader through the analysis of both design questions and positive ones dealing with the workings of several standard institutions. At the end of the tour, the reader will find him or herself inside the realm of market design and the theory of price formation.

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Article provided by Fundación SEPI in its journal Investigaciones Economicas.

Volume (Year): 24 (2000)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 3-50

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Handle: RePEc:iec:inveco:v:24:y:2000:i:1:p:3-50
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  1. Cramton, Peter C, 1995. "Money Out of Thin Air: The Nationwide Narrowband PCS Auction," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(2), pages 267-343, Summer.
  2. Ashenfelter, O. & Genesove, D., 1992. "Testing for Price Anomalies in real Estate Auctions," Papers 128, Princeton, Department of Economics - Financial Research Center.
  3. McAfee, R Preston, 1993. "Mechanism Design by Competing Sellers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(6), pages 1281-1312, November.
  4. Krishna, Vijay & Rosenthal, Robert W., 1996. "Simultaneous Auctions with Synergies," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 1-31, November.
  5. Robert J. Weber, 1981. "Multiple-Object Auctions," Discussion Papers 496, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  6. Burguet, Roberto & Sakovics, Jozsef, 1996. "Reserve Prices without Commitment," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 149-164, August.
  7. Bulow, Jeremy I. & Klemperer, Paul, 1994. "Auctions vs. Negotiations," CEPR Discussion Papers 924, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Back, Kerry & Zender, Jaime F, 1993. "Auctions of Divisible Goods: On the Rationale for the Treasury Experiment," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 6(4), pages 733-64.
  9. Jane Black & David de Meza, 1992. "Systematic Price Differences Between Successive Auctionsare no Anomaly," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(4), pages 607-628, December.
  10. Samuelson, William F., 1985. "Competitive bidding with entry costs," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 17(1-2), pages 53-57.
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    • McAfee, R. Preston & McMillan, John., 1990. "Bidding Rings," Working Papers 726, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  12. Peters, Michael & Severinov, Sergei, 1997. "Competition among Sellers Who Offer Auctions Instead of Prices," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 141-179, July.
  13. Ashenfelter, Orley, 1989. "How Auctions Work for Wine and Art," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 23-36, Summer.
  14. McAfee, R. Preston & McMillan, John, 1987. "Auctions with entry," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 343-347.
  15. R. Preston McAfee & John McMillan, 1996. "Analyzing the Airwaves Auction," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 159-175, Winter.
  16. Lawrence M. Ausubel & Peter Cramton & Marek Pycia & Marzena Rostek & Marek Weretka, 2014. "Demand Reduction and Inefficiency in Multi-Unit Auctions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 81(4), pages 1366-1400.
  17. Gresik, Thomas A. & Satterthwaite, Mark A., 1989. "The rate at which a simple market converges to efficiency as the number of traders increases: An asymptotic result for optimal trading mechanisms," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 304-332, June.
  18. Roger B. Myerson, 1978. "Optimal Auction Design," Discussion Papers 362, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  19. Michael Peters, 1997. "A Competitive Distribution of Auctions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(1), pages 97-123.
  20. Eric Maskin & John Riley, 2000. "Asymmetric Auctions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(3), pages 413-438.
  21. John G. Riley & William Samuelson, 1979. "Optimal Auctions," UCLA Economics Working Papers 152, UCLA Department of Economics.
  22. McAfee, R. Preston & McMillan, John, 1989. "Government procurement and international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3-4), pages 291-308, May.
  23. Burguet, Roberto, 1996. "Optimal Repeated Purchases When Sellers Are Learning about Costs," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 440-455, February.
  24. Bernhardt, Dan & Scoones, David, 1994. "A Note on Sequential Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 653-57, June.
  25. Robert Wilson, 1977. "A Bidding Model of Perfect Competition," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(3), pages 511-518.
  26. Wolfstetter, Elmar, 1996. " Auctions: An Introduction," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(4), pages 367-420, December.
  27. Cremer, Jacques & McLean, Richard P, 1988. "Full Extraction of the Surplus in Bayesian and Dominant Strategy Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(6), pages 1247-57, November.
  28. McAfee R. Preston & Vincent Daniel, 1993. "The Declining Price Anomaly," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 191-212, June.
  29. Eric S. Maskin & John G. Riley, 1985. "Auction Theory with Private Values," UCLA Economics Working Papers 359, UCLA Department of Economics.
  30. Milgrom, Paul, 1989. "Auctions and Bidding: A Primer," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 3-22, Summer.
  31. A. W. Coats, 1996. "Introduction," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 28(5), pages 3-11, Supplemen.
  32. J. Riley & E. Maskin, 1981. "Optimal Auctions with Risk Averse Buyers," Working papers 311, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  33. Levin, Dan & Smith, James L, 1994. "Equilibrium in Auctions with Entry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 585-99, June.
  34. Burguet, Roberto & Sakovics, Jozsef, 1999. "Imperfect Competition in Auction Designs," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(1), pages 231-47, February.
  35. Milgrom, Paul R & Weber, Robert J, 1982. "A Theory of Auctions and Competitive Bidding," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1089-1122, September.
  36. French, Kenneth R & McCormick, Robert E, 1984. "Sealed Bids, Sunk Costs, and the Process of Competition," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(4), pages 417-41, October.
  37. Roger B. Myerson, 1977. "Incentive Compatability and the Bargaining Problem," Discussion Papers 284, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  38. Robert W. Rosenthal & Ruqu Wang, 1995. "Simultaneous Auctions with Synergies and Common Values," Papers 0060, Boston University - Industry Studies Programme.
  39. Martin J. Osborne & Ariel Rubinstein, 2005. "Bargaining and Markets," Levine's Bibliography 666156000000000515, UCLA Department of Economics.
  40. Wilson, Robert, 1992. "Strategic analysis of auctions," Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, in: R.J. Aumann & S. Hart (ed.), Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 227-279 Elsevier.
  41. 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.
  42. Yeon-Koo Che & Ian Gale, 1998. "Standard Auctions with Financially Constrained Bidders," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 65(1), pages 1-21.
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