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original papers : Who else is bidding? The Pareto optimality of disclosing bidder identities


  • Gopal Das Varma

    () (Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, Box 90120, Durham, NC 27708, USA)


This paper examines whether the seller of an object should reveal the identities of the participating bidders before bids become due. It is shown that when bidders experience identity dependent externalities and auction participation is exogenous, then for a large class of standard auction mechanisms, a policy of revelation serves to realize a higher surplus because it improves the accuracy of each bidder's estimate of her ex-post willingness-to-pay, and therefore changes the auction allocation in a more ex-post efficient manner. Furthermore, it is shown that the policy of revelation increases both the expected seller revenues as well as ex-ante expected bidder payoffs.

Suggested Citation

  • Gopal Das Varma, 2002. "original papers : Who else is bidding? The Pareto optimality of disclosing bidder identities," Review of Economic Design, Springer;Society for Economic Design, vol. 7(2), pages 155-171.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:reecde:v:7:y:2002:i:2:p:155-171
    Note: Received: 4 February 2000 / Accepted: 15 November 2000

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    Cited by:

    1. Sandro Gleave & Eberhard Feess, 2016. "Fixed fee licensing for cost-reducing technologies: Should innovators reveal their private information?," Review of Managerial Science, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 781-799, October.
    2. repec:eee:ecolet:v:163:y:2018:i:c:p:22-26 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Auction; externalities; efficiency; mechanism design;

    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities


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