Extremal Information Structures in the First Price Auction

48 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2013

See all articles by Dirk Bergemann

Dirk Bergemann

Yale University - Cowles Foundation - Department of Economics; Yale University - Cowles Foundation

Benjamin A. Brooks

Princeton University - Department of Economics

Stephen Morris

Princeton University - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 12, 2013

Abstract

We study how the outcomes of a private-value first price auction can vary with bidders' information, for a fixed distribution of private values. In a two bidder, two value, setting, we characterize all combinations of bidder surplus and revenue that can arise, and identify the information structure that minimizes revenue. The extremal information structure that minimizes revenue entails each bidder observing a noisy and correlated signal about the other bidder's value.

In the general environment with many bidders and many values, we characterize the minimum bidder surplus of each bidder and maximum revenue across all information structures. The extremal information structure that simultaneously attains these bounds entails an efficient allocation, bidders knowing whether they will win or lose, losers bidding their true value and winners being induced to bid high by partial information about the highest losing bid. Our analysis uses a linear algebraic characterization of equilibria across all information structures, and we report simulations of properties of the set of all equilibria.

Keywords: First price auction, Mechanism design, Robust predictions, Private information, Bayes correlated equilibrium

JEL Classification: C72, D44, D82, D83

Suggested Citation

Bergemann, Dirk and Brooks, Benjamin A. and Morris, Stephen Edward, Extremal Information Structures in the First Price Auction (November 12, 2013). Cowles Foundation Discussion Paper No. 1926. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2353389 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2353389

Dirk Bergemann (Contact Author)

Yale University - Cowles Foundation - Department of Economics ( email )

28 Hillhouse Ave
New Haven, CT 06520-8268
United States
203-432-3592 (Phone)
203-432-2128 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.yale.edu/~dirk/

Yale University - Cowles Foundation

Box 208281
New Haven, CT 06520-8281
United States

Benjamin A. Brooks

Princeton University - Department of Economics ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States

Stephen Edward Morris

Princeton University - Department of Economics ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States

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