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Informationally Robust Optimal Auction Design

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A single unit of a good is to be sold by auction to one of two buyers. The good has either a high value or a low value, with known prior probabilities. The designer of the auction knows the prior over values but is uncertain about the correct model of the buyers’ beliefs. The designer evaluates a given auction design by the lowest expected revenue that would be generated across all models of buyers’ information that are consistent with the common prior and across all Bayesian equilibria. An optimal auction for such a seller is constructed, as is a worst-case model of buyers’ information. The theory generates upper bounds on the seller’s optimal payoff for general many-player and common-value models.

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File URL: http://cowles.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/pub/d20/d2065.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 2065.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2016
Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:2065
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  1. Nenad Kos & Matthias Messner, 2015. "Selling to the mean," Working Papers 551, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  2. Dirk Bergemann & Karl H. Schlag, 2012. "Pricing Without Priors," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Robust Mechanism Design The Role of Private Information and Higher Order Beliefs, chapter 12, pages 405-415 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
  3. Aumann, Robert J. & Maschler, Michael, 1985. "Game theoretic analysis of a bankruptcy problem from the Talmud," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 195-213, August.
  4. Hansen, Lars-Peter & Sargent, Thomas-J, 2001. "Acknowledgement Misspecification in Macroeconomic Theory," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 19(S1), pages 213-227, February.
  5. Cremer, Jacques & McLean, Richard P, 1985. "Optimal Selling Strategies under Uncertainty for a Discriminating Monopolist When Demands Are Interdependent," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(2), pages 345-361, March.
  6. Paul R. Milgrom & Robert J. Weber, 1985. "Distributional Strategies for Games with Incomplete Information," Mathematics of Operations Research, INFORMS, vol. 10(4), pages 619-632, November.
  7. Lars Peter Hansen & Thomas J. Sargent, 2001. "Acknowledging Misspecification in Macroeconomic Theory," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 4(3), pages 519-535, July.
  8. Roger B. Myerson, 1981. "Optimal Auction Design," Mathematics of Operations Research, INFORMS, vol. 6(1), pages 58-73, February.
  9. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
  10. McAfee, R Preston & McMillan, John & Reny, Philip J, 1989. "Extracting the Surplus in the Common-Value Auction," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(6), pages 1451-1459, November.
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