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Are Dynamic Vickrey Auctions Practical?: Properties of the Combinatorial Clock Auction


  • Jonathan Levin
  • Andrzej Skrzypacz


The combinatorial clock auction is becoming increasingly popular for large-scale spectrum awards and other uses, replacing more traditional ascending or clock auctions. We describe some surprising properties of the auction, including a wide range of ex post equilibria with demand expansion, demand reduction and predation. These outcomes arise because of the way the auction separates allocation and pricing, so that bidders are asked to make decisions that cannot possibly affect their own auction outcome. Our results obtain in a standard homogenous good setting where bidders have well-behaved linear demand curves, and suggest some practical difficulties with dynamic implementations of the Vickrey auction.

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  • Jonathan Levin & Andrzej Skrzypacz, 2014. "Are Dynamic Vickrey Auctions Practical?: Properties of the Combinatorial Clock Auction," NBER Working Papers 20487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20487
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Martin Bichler & Pasha Shabalin & Jürgen Wolf, 2013. "Do core-selecting Combinatorial Clock Auctions always lead to high efficiency? An experimental analysis of spectrum auction designs," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 16(4), pages 511-545, December.
    2. Jeremy Bulow & Jonathan Levin & Paul Milgrom, 2009. "Winning Play in Spectrum Auctions," NBER Working Papers 14765, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Frank Riedel & Elmar Wolfstetter, 2006. "Immediate demand reduction in simultaneous ascending-bid auctions: a uniqueness result," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 29(3), pages 721-726, November.
    4. Paul Klemperer, 2004. "Auctions: Theory and Practice," Online economics textbooks, SUNY-Oswego, Department of Economics, number auction1, March.
    5. Albert S. Kyle, 1989. "Informed Speculation with Imperfect Competition," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(3), pages 317-355.
    6. Ott, Marion & Beck, Marissa, 2013. "Incentives for Overbidding in Minimum-Revenue Core-Selecting Auctions," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79946, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    7. Vitali Gretschko & Stephan Knapek & Achim Wambach, 2012. "Strategic Complexities in the Combinatorial Clock Auction," CESifo Working Paper Series 3983, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. Milgrom,Paul, 2004. "Putting Auction Theory to Work," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521536721, May.
    9. Paul Klemperer, 2004. "Auctions: Theory and Practice," Online economics textbooks, SUNY-Oswego, Department of Economics, number auction1.
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    Cited by:

    1. Janssen, Maarten & Karamychev, Vladimir, 2016. "Spiteful bidding and gaming in combinatorial clock auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 186-207.
    2. Bichler, Martin & Goeree, Jacob K., 2017. "Frontiers in spectrum auction design," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 372-391.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • D47 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Market Design
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • L96 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Telecommunications

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