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The Role of Outside Options in Auction Design

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  • Nicolas Figueroa
  • Vasiliki Skreta

Abstract

This paper studies revenue maximizing auctions when buyers’ outside options depend on their private information. The set-up is very general and encompasses a large number of potential applications. The main novel message of our analysis is that with type-dependent non-participation payoffs, the revenue maximizing assignment of objects can crucially depend on the outside options that buyers face. Outside options can therefore affect the degree of efficiency of revenue maximizing auctions. We show that depending on the shape of outside options, sometimes an optimal mechanism will allocate the objects in an ex-post efficient way, and other times, buyers will obtain objects more often than it is efficient. Our characterization rings a bell of caution. Modeling buyers outside options as being independent of their private information, is with loss of generality and can lead to quite misleading intuitions. Our solution procedure can be useful also in other models where type-dependent outside options arise endogenously, because, for instance, buyers can collude or because there are competing sellers. Type-Dependent Outside Options: JEL D44, C7, C72.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Nicolas Figueroa & Vasiliki Skreta, 2006. "The Role of Outside Options in Auction Design," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000000140, UCLA Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:cla:levrem:321307000000000140
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    File URL: http://www.econ.ucla.edu/skreta/data/out.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Fernando Branco, 1996. "Multiple unit auctions of an indivisible good," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 8(1), pages 77-101.
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    3. Paul R. Milgrom, 1985. "Auction Theory," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 779, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    4. Christopher Avery & Terrence Hendershott, 2000. "Bundling and Optimal Auctions of Multiple Products," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(3), pages 483-497.
    5. Jorge Aseff & Hector Chade, 2008. "An optimal auction with identity-dependent externalities," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(3), pages 731-746.
    6. Philippe Jehiel & Benny Moldovanu, 2001. "A note of revenue maximization and efficiency in multi-object auctions," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 3(2), pages 1-5.
    7. Gale, Ian, 1990. "A multiple-object auction with superadditive values," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 323-328, December.
    8. Krishna, Vijay & Maenner, Eliot, 2001. "Convex Potentials with an Application to Mechanism Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(4), pages 1113-1119, July.
    9. Jehiel, Philippe & Moldovanu, Benny & Stacchetti, Ennio, 1996. "How (Not) to Sell Nuclear Weapons," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 814-829, September.
    10. Vijay Krishna & Motty Perry, 1997. "Efficient Mechanism Design," Game Theory and Information 9703010, EconWPA, revised 28 Apr 1998.
    11. Jullien, Bruno, 2000. "Participation Constraints in Adverse Selection Models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 1-47, July.
    12. Paul Klemperer, 2004. "Auctions: Theory and Practice," Online economics textbooks, SUNY-Oswego, Department of Economics, number auction1.
    13. Dana, James Jr. & Spier, Kathryn E., 1994. "Designing a private industry : Government auctions with endogenous market structure," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 127-147, January.
    14. Jehiel, Philippe & Moldovanu, Benny & Stacchetti, Ennio, 1999. "Multidimensional Mechanism Design for Auctions with Externalities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 258-293, April.
    15. Lewis, Tracy R. & Sappington, David E. M., 1989. "Countervailing incentives in agency problems," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 294-313, December.
    16. Mark Armstrong, 2000. "Optimal Multi-Object Auctions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(3), pages 455-481.
    17. Maskin, Eric S & Riley, John G, 1984. "Optimal Auctions with Risk Averse Buyers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(6), pages 1473-1518, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Vasiliki Skreta, 2011. "On the informed seller problem: optimal information disclosure," Review of Economic Design, Springer;Society for Economic Design, vol. 15(1), pages 1-36, March.
    2. Laurent Lamy, 2007. "Contingent Auctions with Allocative Externalities: Vickrey vs. the Ausubel-Milgrom Proxy Auction," 2007 Meeting Papers 427, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Vasiliki Skreta & Nicolas Figueroa, 2007. "A Note on Optimal Auctions," Levine's Bibliography 843644000000000232, UCLA Department of Economics.
    4. Jorge Aseff & Hector Chade, 2008. "An optimal auction with identity-dependent externalities," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(3), pages 731-746.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • C7 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games

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