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Extremal Information Structures in the First Price Auction

We study how the outcomes of a private-value first price auction can vary with bidders' information, for a fixed distribution of private values. In a two bidder, two value, setting, we characterize all combinations of bidder surplus and revenue that can arise, and identify the information structure that minimizes revenue. The extremal information structure that minimizes revenue entails each bidder observing a noisy and correlated signal about the other bidder's value. In the general environment with many bidders and many values, we characterize the minimum bidder surplus of each bidder and maximum revenue across all information structures. The extremal information structure that simultaneously attains these bounds entails an efficient allocation, bidders knowing whether they will win or lose, losers bidding their true value and winners being induced to bid high by partial information about the highest losing bid. Our analysis uses a linear algebraic characterization of equilibria across all information structures, and we report simulations of properties of the set of all equilibria.

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File URL: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/P/cd/d19a/d1926.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 1926.

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Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1926
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Web page: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/

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Order Information: Postal: Cowles Foundation, Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA

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  1. Dekel, E. & Wolinsky, A., 2000. "Rationalizable Outcomes of Large Independent Private-Value First-Price Discrete Auctions," Papers 2000-13, Tel Aviv.
  2. FORGES , Françoise, 1993. "Five Legitimate Definitions of Correlated Equilibrium in Games with Incomplete Information," CORE Discussion Papers 1993009, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  3. Kim, Jinwoo & Che, Yeon-Koo, 2004. "Asymmetric information about rivals' types in standard auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 383-397, February.
  4. Helmuts Āzacis & Péter Vida, 2015. "Collusive communication schemes in a first-price auction," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 58(1), pages 125-160, January.
  5. Battigalli, Pierpaolo & Siniscalchi, Marciano, 2003. "Rationalizable bidding in first-price auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 38-72, October.
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