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Fair Payments for Efficient Allocations in Public Sector Combinatorial Auctions

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  • Robert W. Day

    () (Operations and Information Management, School of Business, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut 06269)

  • S. Raghavan

    () (Decision and Information Technologies, The Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742)

Abstract

Motivated by the increasing use of auctions by government agencies, we consider the problem of fairly pricing public goods in a combinatorial auction. A well-known problem with the incentive-compatible Vickrey-Clarke-Groves (VCG) auction mechanism is that the resulting prices may not be in the core. Loosely speaking, this means the payments of the winners could be so low, that there are bidders who would have been willing to pay more than the payments of the winning bidders. Clearly, this "unfair" outcome is unacceptable for a public sector auction. Recent advances in auction theory suggest that combinatorial auctions resulting in efficient outcomes and bidder-Pareto-optimal core payments offer a viable practical alternative to address this problem. This paper confronts two critical issues facing the bidder-Pareto-optimal core payment. First, motivated to minimize a bidder's ability to benefit through strategic manipulation (through collusive agreement or unilateral action), we demonstrate the strength of a mechanism that minimizes total payments among all such auction outcomes, narrowing the previously broad solution concept. Second, we address the computational difficulties of achieving these outcomes with a constraint-generation approach, promising to broaden the range of applications for which bidder-Pareto-optimal core pricing achieves a comfortably rapid solution.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert W. Day & S. Raghavan, 2007. "Fair Payments for Efficient Allocations in Public Sector Combinatorial Auctions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 53(9), pages 1389-1406, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:53:y:2007:i:9:p:1389-1406
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1060.0662
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Laurent Lamy, 2010. "Core-selecting package auctions: a comment on revenue-monotonicity," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 39(3), pages 503-510, July.
    2. Goeree, Jacob K. & Lien, Yuanchuan, 2016. "On the impossibility of core-selecting auctions," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 11(1), January.
    3. Robert W. Day & Peter Cramton, 2012. "Quadratic Core-Selecting Payment Rules for Combinatorial Auctions," Operations Research, INFORMS, vol. 60(3), pages 588-603, June.
    4. Isa Hafalir & Hadi Yektaş, 2015. "Core deviation minimizing auctions," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 44(2), pages 367-376, May.
    5. A. Mochon & Y. Saez & J. Gómez-Barroso & P. Isasi, 2011. "The Clock Proxy Auction for Allocating Radio Spectrum Licenses," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 37(4), pages 411-431, April.
    6. Todd R. Kaplan & Shmuel Zamir, 2014. "Advances in Auctions," Discussion Papers 1405, Exeter University, Department of Economics.
    7. 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.
    8. Francisco Robles, 2016. "An implementation of the Vickrey outcome with gross-substitutes," UB Economics Working Papers 2016/353, Universitat de Barcelona, Facultat d'Economia i Empresa, UB Economics.
    9. Janssen, Maarten & Karamychev, Vladimir, 2016. "Spiteful bidding and gaming in combinatorial clock auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 186-207.
    10. Sano, Ryuji, 2013. "Vickrey-reserve auctions and an equilibrium equivalence," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 112-117.
    11. Ott, Marion & Beck, Marissa, 2013. "Incentives for Overbidding in Minimum-Revenue Core-Selecting Auctions," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79946, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    12. Pengfei Liu & Stephen K. Swallow & Christopher M. Anderson, 2016. "Threshold-Level Public Goods Provision with Multiple Units: Experimental Effects of Disaggregated Groups with Rebates," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 92(3), pages 515-533.
    13. Peter Cramton, 2013. "Spectrum Auction Design," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 42(2), pages 161-190, March.
    14. Aytek Erdil & Paul Klemperer, 2010. "A New Payment Rule for Core-Selecting Package Auctions," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(2-3), pages 537-547, 04-05.
    15. Chen, Ning & Ghosh, Arpita & Lambert, Nicolas S., 2014. "Auctions for social lending: A theoretical analysis," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 367-391.
    16. Kaplan, Todd R. & Zamir, Shmuel, 2015. "Advances in Auctions," Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, Elsevier.
    17. Jonathan Levin & Andrzej Skrzypacz, 2016. "Properties of the Combinatorial Clock Auction," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(9), pages 2528-2551, September.
    18. Mochon, A. & Saez, Y. & Gomez-Barroso, J.L. & Isasi, P., 2012. "Exploring pricing rules in combinatorial sealed-bid auctions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 462-478.
    19. Maarten Janssen & Vladimir Karamychev, 2013. "Gaming in Combinatorial Clock Auctions," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-027/VII, Tinbergen Institute, revised 16 Dec 2013.
    20. Martin Bichler & Pasha Shabalin & Jürgen Wolf, 2013. "Do core-selecting Combinatorial Clock Auctions always lead to high efficiency? An experimental analysis of spectrum auction designs," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 16(4), pages 511-545, December.

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