Optimality and Robustness of the English Auction
This paper attempts to reconcile the observed popularity of the English auction with the hypothesis that the trading mechanism is chosen with the objective of maximizing the seller's expected revenue. Under the assumptions of Milgrom and Weber's  'general symmetric model,' I show the following three results. First, the 'augumented' English auction, in which the auctioneer sets the reserve price after all but one bidder have dropped out, generates at least as much seller's expected revenue as any ex post incentive-compatible (EPIC) and individually rational (EPIR) direct mechanisms. EPIC and EPIR direct mechanisms correspond to "belief-free" selling procedures. Thus this restriction of the set of feasible selling mechanisms aims at capturing a notion of robustness with respect to pertubations of the buyers' beliefs about their opponents' private information. Second, in the larger set of mechanisms, characterized by the property that 'losers do not pay,' ther! e exist auctions that generate a higher seller's expected revenue than the (augmented) English auction. Third, with two buyers, for a large class of signals' distributions, the augmented English auction maximizes the seller's expected revenue among all selling procedures where the loser does not pay and each buyer's payment is nondecreaseing in his own signal. With private values, these two conditions are satisfied by many equilibria in a class of bidding mechanisms, which includes approximations of both the Dutch auction and the English auction with discrete price increments. With more than two buyers, the English auction is optmal among all ex post efficient mechanisms where the losers do not pay and each buyer's payment is monotone in his signal.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- McAfee, R Preston & McMillan, John, 1987. "Auctions and Bidding," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 25(2), pages 699-738, June.
- Vijay Krishna & John Morgan, 1994.
"An Analysis of the War of Attrition and the All-Pay Auction,"
Game Theory and Information
- Krishna, Vijay & Morgan, John, 1997. "An Analysis of the War of Attrition and the All-Pay Auction," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 343-362, February.
- Giuseppe Lopomo, 2004.
"The English Auction Is Optimal Among Simple Sequential Auctions,"
122247000000000369, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Lopomo, Giuseppe, 1998. "The English Auction Is Optimal Among Simple Sequential Auctions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 144-166, September.
- 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.
- Paul R. Milgrom, 1985. "Auction Theory," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 779, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
- John G. Riley, 1988. "Ex Post Information in Auctions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(3), pages 409-429.
- J. Riley & E. Maskin, 1981.
"Optimal Auctions with Risk Averse Buyers,"
311, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Steven A. Matthews, 1981.
"Selling to Risk Averse Buyers with Unobservable Tastes,"
480S, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Matthews, Steven A., 1983. "Selling to risk averse buyers with unobservable tastes," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 370-400, August.
- Riley, John G & Samuelson, William F, 1981.
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 381-92, June.
- 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.
- McAfee, R Preston & Reny, Philip J, 1992. "Correlated Information and Mechanism Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 395-421, March.
- Green, Jerry R & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1987. "Posterior Implementability in a Two-Person Decision Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(1), pages 69-94, January.
- Paul Milgrom & Robert J. Weber, 1981.
"A Theory of Auctions and Competitive Bidding,"
447R, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Roger B. Myerson, 1978. "Optimal Auction Design," Discussion Papers 362, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Bikhchandani, Sushil & Riley, John G., 1991. "Equilibria in open common value auctions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 101-130, February.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cla:levrem:122247000000000391. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (David K. Levine)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.