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American Economic Review: Vol. 94 No. 5 (December 2004)

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An Efficient Ascending-Bid Auction for Multiple Objects

Article Citation

Ausubel, Lawrence M. 2004. "An Efficient Ascending-Bid Auction for Multiple Objects." American Economic Review, 94(5): 1452-1475.

DOI: 10.1257/0002828043052330

Abstract

When bidders exhibit multi-unit demands, standard auction methods generally yield inefficient outcomes. This article proposes a new ascending-bid auction for homogeneous goods, such as Treasury bills or telecommunications spectrum. The auctioneer announces a price and bidders respond with quantities. Items are awarded at the current price whenever they are "clinched," and the price is incremented until the market clears. With private values, this (dynamic) auction yields the same outcome as the (sealed-bid) Vickrey auction, but has advantages of simplicity and privacy preservation. With interdependent values, this auction may retain efficiency, whereas the Vickrey auction suffers from a generalized Winner's Curse.

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Ausubel, Lawrence M.


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