Credible Auctions: A Trilemma

63 Pages Posted: 11 Sep 2017 Last revised: 28 Oct 2019

See all articles by Mohammad Akbarpour

Mohammad Akbarpour

Stanford University

Shengwu Li

Harvard University - Society of Fellows

Date Written: June 21, 2019


Consider an extensive-form mechanism, run by an auctioneer who communicates sequentially and privately with agents. Suppose the auctioneer can deviate from the rules provided that no single agent detects the deviation. A mechanism is credible if it is incentive-compatible for the auctioneer to follow the rules. We study the optimal auctions in which only winners pay, under symmetric independent private values. The first-price auction is the unique credible static mechanism. The ascending auction is the unique credible strategy-proof mechanism.

Keywords: Mechanism Design, Auction, Credible, Strategy-Proof

JEL Classification: D44, D47, D82

Suggested Citation

Akbarpour, Mohammad and Li, Shengwu, Credible Auctions: A Trilemma (June 21, 2019). Available at SSRN: or

Mohammad Akbarpour

Stanford University ( email )

Shengwu Li (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Society of Fellows ( email )

Cambridge, MA
United States

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