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Efficiency and Information Aggregation in Auctions

  • Wolfgang Pesendorfer
  • Jeroen M. Swinkels

The tension between allocative efficiency and information aggregation is explored in the context of an auction: k identical objects of unknown quality are auctioned off to n bidders whose tastes affect their valuation of an object of given quality. Bidders receive a signal about the quality of the objects. The k highest bidders get an object and pay a price equal to the k + first highest bid. We find conditions under which, in the limit, objects are allocated efficiently to those with the highest tastes, and price converges in probability to the value of an object to the marginal taste type.

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Paper provided by Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science in its series Discussion Papers with number 1168.

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Date of creation: Oct 1996
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Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1168
Contact details of provider: Postal: Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science, Northwestern University, 580 Jacobs Center, 2001 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208-2014
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Web page: http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/research/math/
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  1. Jeroen M. Swinkels & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2000. "Efficiency and Information Aggregation in Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 499-525, June.
  2. 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.
  3. Timothy Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1994. "Voting Behavior and Information Aggregation in Elections with Private Information," Discussion Papers 1117, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  4. Milgrom, Paul R, 1979. "A Convergence Theorem for Competitive Bidding with Differential Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(3), pages 679-88, May.
  5. Wilson, Robert, 1977. "A Bidding Model of Perfect Competition," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 511-18, October.
  6. Haile,P.A., 1999. "Auctions with resale," Working papers 33, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  7. Grossman, Sanford J & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1976. "Information and Competitive Price Systems," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 246-53, May.
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