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Symmetric Auctions

  • Rahul Deb
  • Mallesh Pai

Practical or legal constraints often restrict auctions to being symmetric (anonymous and nondiscriminatory). We examine when this restriction prevents a seller from achieving his objectives. In an independent private value setting with heterogenous buyers, we characterize the set of incentive compatible and individually rational outcomes that can be implemented via a symmetric auction. We show that symmetric auctions can yield many discriminatory outcomes such as revenue maximization and affirmative action. We also characterize the set of implementable outcomes when individual rationality holds ex-post rather than in expectation. This additional requirement may prevent the seller from maximizing revenue.

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Paper provided by University of Toronto, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number tecipa-486.

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Length: Unknown pages
Date of creation: 13 May 2013
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Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-486
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  1. Estelle Cantillon, 2000. "The Effect of Bidders' Asymmetries on Expected Revenue in Auctions," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1279, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  2. Zheng, Charles Zhoucheng, 2002. "Optimal Auction with Resale," Staff General Research Papers Archive 12664, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
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  4. Alejandro M. Manelli & Daniel R. Vincent, 2010. "Bayesian and Dominant‐Strategy Implementation in the Independent Private‐Values Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(6), pages 1905-1938, November.
  5. Andrew Schotter & Allan Corns, 1999. "Can Affirmative Action Be Cost Effective? An Experimental Examination of Price-Preference Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 291-305, March.
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  8. Alex Gershkov & Jacob K. Goeree & Alexey Kushnir & Benny Moldovanu & Xianwen Shi, 2013. "On the Equivalence of Bayesian and Dominant Strategy Implementation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(1), pages 197-220, 01.
  9. Bernard Caillaud & Jacques Robert, 2005. "Implementation of the revenue-maximizing auction by an ignorant seller," Review of Economic Design, Springer;Society for Economic Design, vol. 9(2), pages 127-143, 04.
  10. Mares, Vlad & Swinkels, Jeroen M., 2011. "Near-optimality of second price mechanisms in a class of asymmetric auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 218-241, May.
  11. McAfee, R. Preston & McMillan, John, 1989. "Government procurement and international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3-4), pages 291-308, May.
  12. Border, Kim C, 1991. "Implementation of Reduced Form Auctions: A Geometric Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(4), pages 1175-87, July.
  13. Jason D. Hartline, 2012. "Approximation in Mechanism Design," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(3), pages 330-36, May.
  14. Ian Ayres & Peter Cramton, 1996. "Deficit Reduction Through Diversity: How Affirmative Action at the FCC Increased Auction Competition," Papers of Peter Cramton 96slr, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 09 Jun 1998.
  15. Eric Maskin, 1999. "Nash Equilibrium and Welfare Optimality," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 23-38.
  16. Eric Maskin & John Riley, 2000. "Asymmetric Auctions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(3), pages 413-438.
  17. Mierendorff, Konrad, 2011. "Asymmetric reduced form Auctions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 110(1), pages 41-44, January.
  18. Mallesh Pai & Rakesh Vohra, 2012. "Auction Design with Fairness Concerns: Subsidies vs. Set-Asides," Discussion Papers 1548, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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