Optimal Dynamic Allocation: Simplicity through Information Design
54 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2020
Date Written: February 15, 2020
We study mechanism design in dynamic nonmonetary markets where objects are allocated to unit-demand agents with private types and quasi-linear payoffs in their waiting costs. We consider a general class of mechanisms that determine the joint distribution of the object assigned to each agent and the agent’s waiting time. We identify the optimal mechanism, and show that it can be implemented by a simple policy when the market maker can design the information disclosed about the objects: by a first-come, first-served waitlist that allows agents to accept or decline offers paired with an information disclosure scheme that pools adjacent object types. From a technical perspective, our results build upon the ironing technique of Myerson  and Toikka  and generalize it to the design of optimal steady-state matching mechanisms in a setting with waiting times and multiple types of objects. We extend our findings to settings where agents have heterogeneous outside options or may depart the market unmatched due to an exogenous event.
JEL Classification: C78, D47
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation