Allocative and Informational Externalities in Auctions and Related Mechanisms

Posted: 26 Jun 2006

See all articles by Philippe Jehiel

Philippe Jehiel

University College London - Department of Economics; Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées (ENPC) - Centre d'Enseignement et de Recherche en Analyse Socio-Economique (CERAS); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Benny Moldovanu

University of Bonn - Chair of Economic Theory II; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: March 2006

Abstract

We study the effects of allocative and informational externalities in (multi-object) auctions and related mechanisms. Such externalities naturally arise in models that embed auctions in larger economic contexts. In particular, they appear when there is downstream interaction among bidders after the auction has closed. The endogeneity of valuations is the main driving force behind many new, specific phenomena with allocative externalities: even in complete information settings, traditional auction formats need not be efficient, and they may give rise to multiple equilibria and strategic non-participation. But, in the absence of informational externalities, welfare maximization can be achieved by Vickrey-Clarke-Groves mechanisms. Welfare-maximizing Bayes-Nash implementation is, however, impossible in multi-object settings with informational externalities, unless the allocation problem is separable across objects (e.g. there are no allocative externalities nor complementarities) or signals are one-dimensional. Moreover, implementation of any choice function via ex-post equilibrium is generically impossible with informational externalities and multidimensional types.

Keywords: Auctions, externalities, interdependent values

JEL Classification: D44, D82

Suggested Citation

Jehiel, Philippe and Moldovanu, Benny, Allocative and Informational Externalities in Auctions and Related Mechanisms (March 2006). CEPR Discussion Paper No. 5558, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=912258

Philippe Jehiel (Contact Author)

University College London - Department of Economics ( email )

Gower Street
London WC1E 6BT, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées (ENPC) - Centre d'Enseignement et de Recherche en Analyse Socio-Economique (CERAS) ( email )

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75007 Paris
France
+33 1 4458 2873 (Phone)
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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Benny Moldovanu

University of Bonn - Chair of Economic Theory II ( email )

Lennestrasse 37
53113 Bonn
Germany
+49 228 736395 (Phone)
+49 228 737940 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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