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Optimal Auctions with Information Acquisition

  • Xianwen Shi

This paper studies optimal auction design in a private value setting with endogenous information acquisition. First, we develop a general framework for modeling information acquisition when a seller wants to sell an object to one of several potential buyers who can each gather information about their valuations prior to participation. We then show that under certain conditions, standard auctions with a reserve price remain optimal, but the optimal reserve price lies between the mean valuation and the standard reserve price in Myerson (1981). We provide sufficient conditions under which the value of information to the seller is positive, and also characterize the necessary and sufficient conditions under which equilibrium information acquisition in private value auctions is socially excessive. The key to the analysis is the insight that buyer incentives to acquire information become stronger as the reserve price moves toward the mean valuation.

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Paper provided by University of Toronto, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number tecipa-302.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: 03 Dec 2007
Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-302
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  12. Patrick Bolton & Mathias Dewatripont, 2005. "Contract Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262025760.
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  20. Jewitt, Ian, 1988. "Justifying the First-Order Approach to Principal-Agent Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1177-1190, September.
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  23. John Riley & Richard Zeckhauser, 1983. "Optimal Selling Strategies: When to Haggle, When to Hold Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(2), pages 267-289.
  24. Paarsch, Harry J., 1997. "Deriving an estimate of the optimal reserve price: An application to British Columbian timber sales," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 333-357, June.
  25. Lichtenberg, Frank R, 1988. "The Private R&D Investment Response to Federal Design and Technical Competitions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 550-559, June.
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  27. J. A. Mirrlees, 1999. "The Theory of Moral Hazard and Unobservable Behaviour: Part I," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 3-21.
  28. Ye, Lixin, 2007. "Indicative bidding and a theory of two-stage auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 181-207, January.
  29. Lewis, Tracy R & Sappington, David E M, 1994. "Supplying Information to Facilitate Price Discrimination," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 35(2), pages 309-27, May.
  30. Péter Eső & Balázs Szentes, 2007. "Optimal Information Disclosure in Auctions and the Handicap Auction," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(3), pages 705-731.
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