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Informationally Robust Optimal Auction Design

Author

Listed:
  • Dirk Bergemann

    (Yale University)

  • Benjamin Brooks

    (University of Chicago)

  • Stephen Morris

    (Princeton University)

Abstract

A single unit of a good is to be sold by auction to one of two buyers. The good has either a high value or a low value, with known prior probabilities. The designer of the auction knows the prior over values but is uncertain about the correct model of the buyers' beliefs. The designer evaluates a given auction design by the lowest expected revenue that would be generated across all models of buyers' information that are consistent with the common prior and across all Bayesian equilibria. An optimal auction for such a seller is constructed, as is a worst-case model of buyers' information. The theory generates upper bounds on the seller's optimal payoff for general many-player and common-value models.

Suggested Citation

  • Dirk Bergemann & Benjamin Brooks & Stephen Morris, 2016. "Informationally Robust Optimal Auction Design," Working Papers 084_2016, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Econometric Research Program..
  • Handle: RePEc:pri:metric:084_2016
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Nenad Kos & Matthias Messner, 2015. "Selling to the mean," Working Papers 551, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    2. Hansen, Lars-Peter & Sargent, Thomas-J, 2001. "Acknowledgement Misspecification in Macroeconomic Theory," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 19(S1), pages 213-227, February.
    3. repec:wsi:wschap:9789814374590_0012 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
    5. Dirk Bergemann & Karl H. Schlag, 2012. "Pricing Without Priors," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Robust Mechanism Design The Role of Private Information and Higher Order Beliefs, chapter 12, pages 405-415 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    6. McAfee, R Preston & McMillan, John & Reny, Philip J, 1989. "Extracting the Surplus in the Common-Value Auction," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(6), pages 1451-1459, November.
    7. Paul R. Milgrom & Robert J. Weber, 1985. "Distributional Strategies for Games with Incomplete Information," Mathematics of Operations Research, INFORMS, vol. 10(4), pages 619-632, November.
    8. Aumann, Robert J. & Maschler, Michael, 1985. "Game theoretic analysis of a bankruptcy problem from the Talmud," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 195-213, August.
    9. 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 345-361, March.
    10. Lars Peter Hansen & Thomas J. Sargent, 2001. "Acknowledging Misspecification in Macroeconomic Theory," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 4(3), pages 519-535, July.
    11. Roger B. Myerson, 1981. "Optimal Auction Design," Mathematics of Operations Research, INFORMS, vol. 6(1), pages 58-73, February.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. NAKADA, Satoshi & NITZAN, Shmuel & UI, Takashi, 2017. "Robust Voting under Uncertainty," Discussion paper series HIAS-E-60, Hitotsubashi Institute for Advanced Study, Hitotsubashi University.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Optimal auctions; common values; information structure; mo del uncertainty; ambiguity aversion; robustness; Bayes correlated equilibrium; revenue maximization; revenue equivalence; information rent;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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