Optimal Combinatorial Mechanism Design
We consider an optimal mechanism design problem with several heterogeneous objects and interdependent values. We characterize ex post incentives using an appropriate monotonicity condition and reformulate the problem in such a way that the choice of an allocation rule can be separated from the choice of the payment rule. Central to our analysis is the formulation of a regularity condition, which gives a recipe for the optimal mechanism. If the problem is regular, then an optimal mechanism can be obtained by solving a combinatorial allocation problem in which objects are allocated in a way to maximize the sum of "virtual" valuations. We identify conditions that imply regularity for two nonnested environments using the techniques of supermodular optimization.
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