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The Optimality of Being Efficient

In an optimal auction, a revenue-optimizing seller often awards goods inefficiently, either by placing them in the wrong hands or by withholding goods from the market. This conclusion rests on two assumptions: (1) the seller can prevent resale among bidders after the auction; and (2) the seller can commit to not sell the withheld goods after the auction. We examine how the optimal auction problem changes when these assumptions are relaxed. In sharp contrast to the no resale assumption, we assume perfect resale: all gains from trade are exhausted in resale. In a multiple object model with independent signals, we characterize optimal auctions with resale. We prove generally that with perfect resale, the seller's incentive to misassign goods is destroyed. Moreover, with discrete types, any misassignment of goods strictly lowers the seller's revenue from the optimum. In auction markets followed by perfect resale, it is optimal to assign goods to those with the highest values.

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File URL: http://www.cramton.umd.edu/papers1995-1999/98wp-optimality-of-being-efficient.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton in its series Papers of Peter Cramton with number 98wpoe.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: 28 May 1998
Date of revision: 18 Jun 1999
Handle: RePEc:pcc:pccumd:98wpoe
Note: Working Paper
Contact details of provider: Postal: Economics Department, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742-7211
Phone: (202) 318-0520
Fax: (202) 318-0520
Web page: http://www.cramton.umd.edu

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  1. McAfee, R Preston & Reny, Philip J, 1992. "Correlated Information and Mechanism Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 395-421, March.
  2. Vijay Krishna & Motty Perry, 1997. "Efficient Mechanism Design," Game Theory and Information 9703010, EconWPA, revised 28 Apr 1998.
  3. Bulow, Jeremy I. & Klemperer, Paul, 1994. "Auctions vs. Negotiations," CEPR Discussion Papers 924, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Levin, Dan & Smith, James L, 1996. "Optimal Reservation Prices in Auctions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(438), pages 1271-83, September.
  5. Cremer, Jacques, & Riordan, Michael H, 1985. "A Sequential Solution to the Public Goods Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(1), pages 77-84, January.
  6. Avery, Christopher & Hendershott, Terrence, 2000. "Bundling and Optimal Auctions of Multiple Products," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(3), pages 483-97, July.
  7. Partha Dasgupta & Eric Maskin, 2000. "Efficient Auctions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(2), pages 341-388, May.
  8. Roger B. Myerson & Mark A. Satterthwaite, 1981. "Efficient Mechanisms for Bilateral Trading," Discussion Papers 469S, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  9. Lawrence M. Ausubel & Peter Cramton & Marek Pycia & Marzena Rostek & Marek Weretka, 2014. "Demand Reduction and Inefficiency in Multi-Unit Auctions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 81(4), pages 1366-1400.
  10. Harstad, Ronald M, 1990. "Alternative Common-Value Auction Procedures: Revenue Comparisons with Free Entry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(2), pages 421-29, April.
  11. Levin, Dan & Smith, James L, 1994. "Equilibrium in Auctions with Entry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 585-99, June.
  12. Bernard Caillaud & Jacques Robert, 2003. "Implementing the Optimal Auction," CIRANO Working Papers 2003s-31, CIRANO.
  13. Larry M. Ausubel & Raymond J. Deneckere, 1989. "Reputation in Bargaining and Durable Goods Monopoly," Levine's Working Paper Archive 201, David K. Levine.
  14. Horstmann, I.J. & LaCasse, C., 1995. "Secret Reserve Prices in a Bidding Model with a Re-Sale Option," Working Papers 9507e, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
  15. Lawrence Ausubel & Peter Cramton, 2004. "Vickrey auctions with reserve pricing," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 23(3), pages 493-505, March.
  16. McAfee, R. Preston & McMillan, John, 1987. "Auctions with entry," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 343-347.
  17. William Vickrey, 1961. "Counterspeculation, Auctions, And Competitive Sealed Tenders," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 16(1), pages 8-37, 03.
  18. Engelbrecht-Wiggans, Richard, 1988. "Revenue equivalence in multi-object auctions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 15-19.
  19. Coase, Ronald H, 1972. "Durability and Monopoly," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 143-49, April.
  20. Haile, Philip A., 2003. "Auctions with private uncertainty and resale opportunities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 108(1), pages 72-110, January.
  21. repec:att:wimass:9702 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. Philip A. Haile, 2001. "Auctions with Resale Markets: An Application to U.S. Forest Service Timber Sales," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 399-427, June.
  23. Ausubel, Lawrence M & Deneckere, Raymond J, 1989. "Reputation in Bargaining and Durable Goods Monopoly," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(3), pages 511-31, May.
  24. Armstrong, Mark, 2000. "Optimal Multi-object Auctions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(3), pages 455-81, July.
  25. Harstad, Ronald M., 1993. "Auctions With Endogenous Bidder Participation," Discussion Paper Serie B 251, University of Bonn, Germany.
  26. 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.
  27. Haile,P.A., 1999. "Auctions with resale," Working papers 33, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
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