Pricing Equilibria and Graphical Valuations
ACM Transactions on Economics and Computation, Vol. 1, No. 1, Article 1, January 2016
26 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2015 Last revised: 28 Oct 2017
Date Written: September 27, 2015
We study pricing equilibria for graphical valuations, which is a class of valuations that admit a compact representation. These valuations are associated with a value graph, whose nodes correspond to items, and edges encode (pairwise) complementarities/substitutabilities between items. It is known that for graphical valuations a Walrasian equilibrium (a pricing equilibrium that relies on anonymous item prices) does not exist in general. On the other hand, a pricing equilibrium exists when the seller uses an agent-specific graphical pricing rule that involves prices for each item and markups/discounts for pairs of items. We study the existence of pricing equilibria with simpler pricing rules which either (i) require anonymity (so that prices are identical for all agents) while allowing for pairwise markups/discounts, or (ii) involve offering prices only for items. We show that a pricing equilibrium with the la er pricing rule exists if and only if a Walrasian equilibrium exists, whereas the former pricing rule may guarantee the existence of a pricing equilibrium even for graphical valuations that do not admit a Walrasian equilibrium. Interestingly, by exploiting a novel connection between the existence of a pricing equilibrium and the partitioning polytope associated with the underlying graph, we also establish that for simple (series-parallel) value graphs a pricing equilibrium with anonymous graphical pricing rule exists if and only if a Walrasian equilibrium exists. These equivalence results imply that simpler pricing rules (i) and (ii) do not guarantee the existence of a pricing equilibrium for all graphical valuations.
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