Artificial Intelligence and Auction Design
31 Pages Posted: 16 Feb 2022
Date Written: February 12, 2022
Motivated by online advertising auctions, we study auction design in repeated auctions played by simple Artificial Intelligence algorithms (Q-learning). We find that first-price auctions with no additional feedback lead to tacit-collusive outcomes (bids lower than values), while second-price auctions do not. We show that the difference is driven by the incentive in first-price auctions to outbid opponents by just one bid increment. This facilitates re-coordination on low bids after a phase of experimentation. We also show that providing information about the lowest bid to win, as introduced by Google at the time of the switch to first-price auctions, increases the competitiveness of auctions.
Keywords: Auction Design, Q-learning, Algorithmic Bidding
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