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Information Structures in Optimal Auctions

A seller wishes to sell an object to one of multiple bidders. The valuations of the bidders are privately known. We consider the joint design problem in which the seller can decide the accuracy by which bidders learn their valuation and to whom to sell at what price. We establish that optimal information structures in an optimal auction exhibit a number of properties: (i) information structures can be represented by monotone partitions, (ii) the cardinality of each partition is finite, (iii) the partitions are asymmetric across agents. These properties imply that the optimal selling strategy of a seller can be implemented by a sequence of exclusive take-it or leave-it offers.

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File URL: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/P/cd/d13a/d1323.pdf
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Paper provided by Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University in its series Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers with number 1323.

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Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2001
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Economic Theory (2007), 137: 580-609
Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1323
Note: CFP 1218.
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Fax: (203) 432-6167
Web page: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/

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  1. Khalil, F & Rochet, J-C, 1997. "Strategic Information Gathering Before a Contract is Offered," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 97-15, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  2. Cremer, Jacques & Khalil, Fahad & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 1998. "Contracts and Productive Information Gathering," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 174-193, November.
  3. V. Crawford & J. Sobel, 2010. "Strategic Information Transmission," Levine's Working Paper Archive 544, David K. Levine.
  4. Roger B. Myerson, 1978. "Optimal Auction Design," Discussion Papers 362, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  5. Motty Perry & Philip J. Reny, 1999. "On The Failure of the Linkage Principle in Multi-Unit Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 895-900, July.
  6. Dirk Bergemann & Juuso Vaimaki, 2000. "Information Acquisition and Efficient Mechanism Design," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1248, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  7. Paul Milgrom & Robert J. Weber, 1981. "A Theory of Auctions and Competitive Bidding," Discussion Papers 447R, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  8. Cremer, J. & Khalil, F., 1991. "Gathering Information Before Signing a Contract," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 91-16, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  9. Lewis Tracy R. & Sappington David E. M., 1993. "Ignorance in Agency Problems," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 169-183, October.
  10. Nicola Persico, 1997. "Information Acquisition in Auctions," UCLA Economics Working Papers 762, UCLA Department of Economics.
  11. Sobel, Joel, 1993. "Information Control in the Principal-Agent Problem," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 34(2), pages 259-69, May.
  12. Stegeman, Mark, 1996. "Participation Costs and Efficient Auctions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 228-259, October.
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