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Auctions with costly information acquisition Constrained Bidders

  • Jacques Cremer
  • Yossi Spiegel
  • Charles Z. Zheng

We consider auction environments in which bidders must incur a cost to learn their valuations and study the optimal selling mechanisms in such environments. These mechanisms specify for each period, as a function of the bids in previous periods, which new potential buyers should be asked to bid. In addition, these mechanisms must induce buyers to both acquire and to reveal truthfully their valuations. Using a generalized Groves principle, we prove a very general “full extraction of the surplus” result: the seller can obtain the same profit as if he had full control over the buyers’ acquisition of information and could have observed directly their valuations once they are informed. We also present appealing implementations of the optimal mechanism in special cases.

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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 1420.

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Date of creation: May 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1420
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  1. Cremer, J. & Khalil, F. & Rochet, J.-C., 1997. "Strategic information gathering before a contract is offered," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 9708, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  2. Levin, Dan & Smith, James L, 1994. "Equilibrium in Auctions with Entry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 585-99, June.
  3. Dirk Bergemann & Juuso Valimaki, 2002. "Information Acquisition and Efficient Mechanism Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(3), pages 1007-1033, May.
  4. Klemperer, Paul, 1999. " Auction Theory: A Guide to the Literature," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(3), pages 227-86, July.
  5. Cremer, J. & Khalil, F., 1991. "Gathering Information Before Signing a Contract," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 91-16, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  6. Cremer, J. & Khalil, F. & Rochet, J-C., 1997. "Contracts and Productive Information Gathering," Papers 97.468, Toulouse - GREMAQ.
  7. McAfee, R. Preston & McMillan, John, 1987. "Auctions with entry," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 343-347.
  8. Burguet, Roberto, 1996. "Optimal Repeated Purchases When Sellers Are Learning about Costs," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 440-455, February.
  9. Weitzman, Martin L, 1979. "Optimal Search for the Best Alternative," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(3), pages 641-54, May.
  10. Lewis, Tracy R & Sappington, David E M, 1997. "Information Management in Incentive Problems," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(4), pages 796-821, August.
  11. Bergemann, Dirk & Pesendorfer, Martin, 2001. "Information Structures in Optimal Auctions," CEPR Discussion Papers 2991, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Nicola Persico, 1997. "Information Acquisition in Auctions," UCLA Economics Working Papers 762, UCLA Department of Economics.
  13. Myerson, Roger B, 1986. "Multistage Games with Communication," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(2), pages 323-58, March.
  14. Chakraborty, Indranil & Kosmopoulou, Georgia, 2001. "Auctions with endogenous entry," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 195-200, August.
  15. Stegeman, Mark, 1996. "Participation Costs and Efficient Auctions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 228-259, October.
  16. Vishwanath, Tara, 1992. "Parallel Search for the Best Alternative," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 2(4), pages 495-507, October.
  17. Preston McAfee, R. & McMillan, John, 1988. "Search mechanisms," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 99-123, February.
  18. Ye Lixin, 2004. "Optimal Auctions with Endogenous Entry," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-29, October.
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