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184
Algorithmic mechanism design
 Games and Economic Behavior
, 1999
"... We consider algorithmic problems in a distributed setting where the participants cannot be assumed to follow the algorithm but rather their own selfinterest. As such participants, termed agents, are capable of manipulating the algorithm, the algorithm designer should ensure in advance that the agen ..."
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Cited by 563 (17 self)
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We consider algorithmic problems in a distributed setting where the participants cannot be assumed to follow the algorithm but rather their own selfinterest. As such participants, termed agents, are capable of manipulating the algorithm, the algorithm designer should ensure in advance that the agents ’ interests are best served by behaving correctly. Following notions from the field of mechanism design, we suggest a framework for studying such algorithms. Our main technical contribution concerns the study of a representative task scheduling problem for which the standard mechanism design tools do not suffice. Journal of Economic Literature
Auction Theory: A Guide to the Literature
 JOURNAL OF ECONOMIC SURVEYS
, 1999
"... This paper provides an elementary, nontechnical, survey of auction theory, by introducing and describing some of the critical papers in the subject. (The most important of these are reproduced in a companion book, The Economic Theory of Auctions, Paul Klemperer (ed.), Edward Elgar (pub.), forthco ..."
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Cited by 349 (2 self)
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This paper provides an elementary, nontechnical, survey of auction theory, by introducing and describing some of the critical papers in the subject. (The most important of these are reproduced in a companion book, The Economic Theory of Auctions, Paul Klemperer (ed.), Edward Elgar (pub.), forthcoming.) We begin with the most fundamental concepts, and then introduce the basic analysis of optimal auctions, the revenue equivalence theorem, and marginal revenues. Subsequent sections address riskaversion, affiliation, asymmetries, entry, collusion, multiunit auctions, double auctions, royalties, incentive contracts, and other topics. Appendices contain technical details, some simple worked examples, and a bibliography for each section.
Computationally Manageable Combinatorial Auctions
, 1998
"... There is interest in designing simultaneous auctions for situations in which the value of assets to a bidder depends upon which other assets he or she wins. In such cases, bidders may well wish to submit bids for combinations of assets. When this is allowed, the problem of determining the revenue ma ..."
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Cited by 314 (1 self)
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There is interest in designing simultaneous auctions for situations in which the value of assets to a bidder depends upon which other assets he or she wins. In such cases, bidders may well wish to submit bids for combinations of assets. When this is allowed, the problem of determining the revenue maximizing set of nonconflicting bids can be a difficult one. We analyze this problem, identifying several different structures of combinatorial bids for which computational tractability is constructively demonstrated and some structures for which computational tractability 1 Introduction Some auctions sell many assets simultaneously. Often these assets, like U.S. treasury bills, are interchangeable. However, sometimes the assets and the bids for them are distinct. This happens frequently, as in the U.S. Department of the Interior's simultaneous sales of offshore oil leases, in some private farm land auctions, and in the Federal Communications Commission's recent multibillion dollar sales...
Spectrum Auctions
, 2001
"... Auctions have emerged as the primary means of assigning spectrum licenses to companies wishing to provide wireless communication services. Since July 1994, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has conducted 33 spectrum auctions, assigning thousands of licenses to hundreds of firms. Countries ..."
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Cited by 314 (15 self)
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Auctions have emerged as the primary means of assigning spectrum licenses to companies wishing to provide wireless communication services. Since July 1994, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has conducted 33 spectrum auctions, assigning thousands of licenses to hundreds of firms. Countries throughout the world are conducting similar auctions. I review the current state of spectrum auctions. Both the design and performance of these auctions are addressed.
An efficient ascendingbid auction for multiple objects
 AMERICAN ECONOMIC REVIEW
, 1997
"... In multipleobject environments where individual bidders may demand more than one object, standard methods of auction generally result in allocative inefficiency. This paper proposes a new ascendingbid method for auctioning homogeneous goods, such as Treasury bills or communications spectrum. The a ..."
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Cited by 196 (26 self)
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In multipleobject environments where individual bidders may demand more than one object, standard methods of auction generally result in allocative inefficiency. This paper proposes a new ascendingbid method for auctioning homogeneous goods, such as Treasury bills or communications spectrum. The auctioneer announces a current price, bidders report back the quantity demanded at that price, and the auctioneer raises the price. Objects are awarded to bidders at the current price whenever they are “clinched,” and the process continues until the market clears. With pure private values, the proposed (dynamic) auction yields the same outcome as the (sealedbid) Vickrey auction, but may be simpler for bidders to understand and has the advantage of assuring the privacy of the upper portions of bidders ’ demand curves. With interdependent values, the proposed auction may still yield efficiency, whereas the Vickrey auction fails due to a problem which could be described as the “Generalized Winner’s Curse.”
Computationally feasible VCG mechanisms
 In Proceedings of the Second ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce (EC’00
, 2000
"... A major achievement of mechanism design theory is a general method for the construction of truthful mechanisms called VCG. When applying this method to complex problems such as combinatorial auctions, a difficulty arises: VCG mechanisms are required to compute optimal outcomes and are therefore comp ..."
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Cited by 188 (5 self)
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A major achievement of mechanism design theory is a general method for the construction of truthful mechanisms called VCG. When applying this method to complex problems such as combinatorial auctions, a difficulty arises: VCG mechanisms are required to compute optimal outcomes and are therefore computationally infeasible. However, if the optimal outcome is replaced by the results of a suboptimal algorithm, the resulting mechanism (termed VCGbased) is no longer necessarily truthful. The first part of this paper studies this phenomenon in depth and shows that it is near universal. Specifically, we prove that essentially all reasonable approximations or heuristics for combinatorial auctions as well as a wide class of cost minimization problems yield nontruthful VCGbased mechanisms. We generalize these results for affine maximizers. The second part of this paper proposes a general method for circumventing the above problem. We introduce a modification of VCGbased mechanisms in which the agents are given a chance to improve the output of the underlying algorithm. When the agents behave truthfully, the welfare obtained by the mechanism is at least as good as the one obtained by the algorithm’s output. We provide a strong rationale for truthtelling behavior. Our method satisfies individual rationality as well.
Truth revelation in approximately efficient combinatorial auctions
 Journal of the ACM
, 2002
"... Abstract. Some important classical mechanisms considered in Microeconomics and Game Theory require the solution of a difficult optimization problem. This is true of mechanisms for combinatorial auctions, which have in recent years assumed practical importance, and in particular of the gold standard ..."
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Cited by 182 (1 self)
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Abstract. Some important classical mechanisms considered in Microeconomics and Game Theory require the solution of a difficult optimization problem. This is true of mechanisms for combinatorial auctions, which have in recent years assumed practical importance, and in particular of the gold standard for combinatorial auctions, the Generalized Vickrey Auction (GVA). Traditional analysis of these mechanisms—in particular, their truth revelation properties—assumes that the optimization problems are solved precisely. In reality, these optimization problems can usually be solved only in an approximate fashion. We investigate the impact on such mechanisms of replacing exact solutions by approximate ones. Specifically, we look at a particular greedy optimization method. We show that the GVA payment scheme does not provide for a truth revealing mechanism. We introduce another scheme that does guarantee truthfulness for a restricted class of players. We demonstrate the latter property by identifying natural properties for combinatorial auctions and showing that, for our restricted class of players, they imply that truthful strategies are dominant. Those properties have applicability beyond the specific auction studied.
Analyzing the Airwaves Auction
 Journal of Economic Perspectives
, 1998
"... The US government recently sold spectrum rights using an innovative auction design, the simultaneous ascending auction, invented by economic theorists. The auction outcomes were broadly consistent with the expectations of the theorists. The auction form should have many other applications. March 21, ..."
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Cited by 175 (6 self)
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The US government recently sold spectrum rights using an innovative auction design, the simultaneous ascending auction, invented by economic theorists. The auction outcomes were broadly consistent with the expectations of the theorists. The auction form should have many other applications. March 21, 1998 Just as the Nobel committee was recognizing game theory's role in economics by awarding the 1994 prize to John Nash, John Harsanyi, and Reinhard Selten, game theory was being put to its biggest use ever. Billions of dollars worth of spectrum licenses were being sold by the US government, using a novel auction form designed by economic theorists. Suddenly, game theory became news. William Safire in the New York Times called it "the greatest auction in history." The Economist remarked, "When government auctioneers need worldly advice, where can they turn? To mathematical economists, of course . . . As for the firms that want to get their hands on a sliver of the airwaves, their best bet is to go out first and hire themselves a good game theorist." Fortune said it was the "most dramatic example of game theory's new power . . . It was a triumph, not only for the FCC and the taxpayers, but also for game theory (and game theorists)." Forbes said, "Game theory, long an intellectual pastime, came into its own as a business tool." The Wall Street Journal said, "Game theory is hot." The government auctioned licenses to use the electromagnetic spectrum for personal communications services (PCS): mobile telephones, twoway paging, portable fax machines, and wireless computer networks. Thousands of licenses were offered, varying in both geographic coverage and the amount of spectrum covered. The bidders were the local, longdistance, and cellular telephone companies, as well as...
Economic mechanism design for computerized agents
 In USENIX workshop on Electronic Commerce
, 1995
"... The field of economic mechanism design has been an active area of research in economics for at least 20 years. This field uses the tools of economics and game theory to design "rules of interaction " for economic transactions that will, in principle, yield some desired outcome. In this pap ..."
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Cited by 160 (1 self)
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The field of economic mechanism design has been an active area of research in economics for at least 20 years. This field uses the tools of economics and game theory to design "rules of interaction " for economic transactions that will, in principle, yield some desired outcome. In this paper I provide an overview of this subject for an audience interested in applications to electronic commerce and discuss some special problems that arise in this context.
The Economist as Engineer: Game Theory, Experimentation, and Computation as Tools for Design Economics
 ECONOMETRICA
, 2002
"... Economists have lately been called upon not only to analyze markets, but to design them. Market design involves a responsibility for detail, a need to deal with all of a market’s complications, not just its principle features. Designers therefore cannot work only with the simple conceptual models us ..."
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Cited by 158 (21 self)
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Economists have lately been called upon not only to analyze markets, but to design them. Market design involves a responsibility for detail, a need to deal with all of a market’s complications, not just its principle features. Designers therefore cannot work only with the simple conceptual models used for theoretical insights into the general working of markets. Instead, market design calls for an engineering approach. Drawing primarily on the design of the entry level labor market for American doctors (the National Resident Matching Program), and of the auctions of radio spectrum conducted by the Federal Communications Commission, this paper makes the case that experimental and computational economics are natural complements to game theory in the work of design. The paper also argues that some of the challenges facing both markets involve dealing with related kinds of complementarities, and that this suggests an agenda for future theoretical research.