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1 Auctions, I V.S. Subrahmanian
Fall 2002, © V.S. Subrahmanian 2 Auction Types Ascending auctions (English) Descending auctions (Dutch) Vickrey Auctions Multi-unit Auctions Others to be covered later – Combinatorial auctions – Spectrum auctions
Fall 2002, © V.S. Subrahmanian 3 Auction goals Maximize revenues for auctioneer. Reward bidder with the highest valuation for the product.
Fall 2002, © V.S. Subrahmanian 4 Ascending (English) auctions All bidders are initially active. Start price and increment are fixed. At each stage of the bidding: – Auctioneer calls out last price + increment – Zero or more bidders may become inactive – If at least 2 bidders are still active, auction proceeds to the next stage. – If only one auctioneer is active, then he wins at the current price.
Fall 2002, © V.S. Subrahmanian 5 Ascending auction example John’s willing to pay $50 for item A. Jill’s willing to pay $40 for item A. Mary’s willing to pay $45. Start price = $30, increment = $10. $30: John,Jill, Mary active. $40: John, Jill, Mary active $50: Only John is active => WINS and PAYS $50.
Fall 2002, © V.S. Subrahmanian 6 Descending auctions All bidders are initially inactive. Start price and decrement are fixed. At each stage of the bidding: – Auctioneer calls out last price - decrement – If at least one bidder says yes, then the first bidder to respond wins at the current price. – Else auctioneer proceeds to the next round.
Fall 2002, © V.S. Subrahmanian 7 Descending auction example John’s willing to pay $50 for item A. Jill’s willing to pay $40 for item A. Mary’s willing to pay $45. Start price = $60, increment = $10. $60: John,Jill, Mary inactive. $50: John active John WINS and PAYS $50.
Fall 2002, © V.S. Subrahmanian 8 Observations In both cases, the person willing to bid the most wins. In both cases, the winner pays the current (winning) price.
Fall 2002, © V.S. Subrahmanian 9 Vickrey auctions Same as ascending auction except for one difference. Winner pays the amount bid by the 2 nd highest bidder.
Fall 2002, © V.S. Subrahmanian 10 Vickrey auction example John’s willing to pay $50 for item A. Jill’s willing to pay $40 for item A. Mary’s willing to pay $45. Start price = $30, increment = $10. $30: John,Jill, Mary active. $40: John, Jill, Mary active $50: Only John is active => WINS and PAYS $40. (If the increment had been $5, John would have paid $45).
Fall 2002, © V.S. Subrahmanian 11 Private/Public values Private value model: Each bidder knows the value he places on the commodity. But he does not share this with others. Pure common-value model: – The item has a single value. – But different bidders have different perceptions of what that value is.
Fall 2002, © V.S. Subrahmanian 12 General model Value Function v Signalsv i (t 1,..,t n ) t i is the private signal of bidder i
Fall 2002, © V.S. Subrahmanian 13 Models Pure private model: v i (t 1,..,t n ) = f(t i ) for some function f. Pure common value model: v i (t 1,..,t n ) = v j (t 1,..,t n ) for all i,j.
Fall 2002, © V.S. Subrahmanian 14 Bidding in Vickrey auctions Suppose my private value is V. What should I bid?
Fall 2002, © V.S. Subrahmanian 15 Bidding in Vickrey auctions Suppose my private value is V. What should I bid? V.
Fall 2002, © V.S. Subrahmanian 16 Why? Suppose I bid (V-a). Let the value of the highest bidder (other than mine) be X. Three cases: (V-a) V X
Fall 2002, © V.S. Subrahmanian 17 Vickrey auction bid analysis Case I: X < (V-a). In this case, I win and pay X. Had I bid V, I’d still have won and I’d still have paid X. So no benefit to me to bid V in this case. Case 2: X > V: In this case, I lose, and I’d have lost even if I’d bid V. The outcome does not change if I bid (V-a). Case 3: (V-a) < X < V. In this case, I lose. Had I bid V, I’d have won and still paid less than my true value.
Fall 2002, © V.S. Subrahmanian 18 Multiunit auctions One item, but lots of identical units for sale. E.g. 35 identical Rolex watches. Rules: – Auctioneer calls out a price per unit (e.g. $500 per watch). – Bidders specify how many units they want (e.g. 5 watches). – As the unit price goes up, bidders cannot increase the units they want. – All bidders can hear the other bidders.
Fall 2002, © V.S. Subrahmanian 19 Example multiunit auction Player 1: Has $3000. Player 2: Has $2500. Number of watches being sold: 6. Starting price: $500 per watch. Bid Increments: $100. Auction proceeds as follows.
Fall 2002, © V.S. Subrahmanian 20 Example auction Price/unitPlayer 1’s bidPlayer 2’s bid $50065
Fall 2002, © V.S. Subrahmanian 21 Example auction Price/unitPlayer 1’s bidPlayer 2’s bid $50065 $60054
Fall 2002, © V.S. Subrahmanian 22 Example auction Price/unitPlayer 1’s bidPlayer 2’s bid $50065 $60054 $70043
Fall 2002, © V.S. Subrahmanian 23 Example auction Price/unitPlayer 1’s bidPlayer 2’s bid $50065 $60054 $70043 $80033
Fall 2002, © V.S. Subrahmanian 24 Net Result Auctioneer’s revenue: GREAT. He takes in $4800. But the bidders did no reason intelligently !!!!! Each knows something about the other’s budget and interests.
Fall 2002, © V.S. Subrahmanian 25 End of Round 1 Player 1 knows Player 2 does not want to spend more than $2500. Why? Player 2 knows Player 1 does not want to spend more than $3000. Both players know that demand (6+5=11 Rolexes) exceeds supply (6). By bidding as they just did, they both lost money. A better bidding approach would have been for both players to recognize that. Notice that the bidders never speak to each other. They are only drawing inferences from events they are entitled to know about.
Fall 2002, © V.S. Subrahmanian 26 A better way of bidding Price/unitPlayer 1’s bidPlayer 2’s bid $50065 $60033
Fall 2002, © V.S. Subrahmanian 27 Why is this good? Player 1 is safe. He knows he can’t get more than 3 Rolexes anyway (as long as Player 2 really wants Rolexes). So he can sit tight with his bid for 3 Rolexes. Player 2 has no choice but to compromise. If Player 2 reasons the same way, then both can save dollars.
Fall 2002, © V.S. Subrahmanian 28 Outcome Suppose each bidder can resell the Rolexes for $1000. Player 1’s profit is now $400 x 3 = $1200. Same for Player 2. Auctioneer in trouble: His revenues are just $3600 not $4800 as before. Can build a game tree for this.
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