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On the Generic (Im)possibility of Full Surplus Extraction in Mechanism Design

  • Aviad Heifetz

    ()

  • Zvika Neeman

    ()

A number of studies, most notably Cr?mer and McLean (1985, 1988), have shown that in Harsanyi type spaces of a fixed finite size, it is generically possible to design mechanisms that extract all the surplus from players, and as a consequence, implement any outcome as if the players’ private information were commonly known. In contrast, we show that within the set of common priors on the universal type space, the subset of priors that permit the extraction of the players’ full surplus is shy. Shyness is a notion of smallness for convex subsets of infinite-dimensional topological vector spaces (in our case, the set of common priors), which generalizes the usual notion of zero Lebesgue measure in finite-dimensional spaces.

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Paper provided by The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem in its series Discussion Paper Series with number dp350.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Econometrica, 2006, vol. 74, pp. 213-233.
Handle: RePEc:huj:dispap:dp350
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  1. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Martimort, David, 1998. "Mechanism Design with Collusion and Correlation," IDEI Working Papers 81, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  2. d'Aspremont, C. & Gerard-Varet, L. -A., 1982. "Bayesian incentive compatible beliefs," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 83-103, June.
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  4. Kim-Sau Chung & Jeffrey C. Ely, 2003. "Foundations of Dominant Strategy Mechanisms," Discussion Papers 1372, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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  8. McAfee, R Preston & Reny, Philip J, 1992. "Correlated Information and Mechanism Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 395-421, March.
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  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 1451-59, November.
  11. Morris, Stephen, 1995. "The Common Prior Assumption in Economic Theory," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(02), pages 227-253, October.
  12. Neeman, Zvika, 2003. "The effectiveness of English auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 214-238, May.
  13. 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 345-61, March.
  14. Brusco, Sandro, 1998. "Unique Implementation of the Full Surplus Extraction Outcome in Auctions with Correlated Types," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 185-200, June.
  15. Robert, Jacques, 1991. "Continuity in auction design," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 169-179, October.
  16. Anderson Robert M. & Zame William R., 2001. "Genericity with Infinitely Many Parameters," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-64, February.
  17. Johnson, Scott & Pratt, John W & Zeckhauser, Richard J, 1990. "Efficiency Despite Mutually Payoff-Relevant Private Information: The Finite Case," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(4), pages 873-900, July.
  18. 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.
  19. Aoyagi, Masaki, 1998. "Correlated Types and Bayesian Incentive Compatible Mechanisms with Budget Balance," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 142-151, March.
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