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Bayesian Optimal Auctions via Multi to Singleagent Reduction
, 1203
"... We study an abstract optimal auction problem for a single good or service. This problem includes environments where agents have budgets, risk preferences, or multidimensional preferences over several possible configurations of the good (furthermore, it allows an agent’s budget and risk preference t ..."
Abstract

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We study an abstract optimal auction problem for a single good or service. This problem includes environments where agents have budgets, risk preferences, or multidimensional preferences over several possible configurations of the good (furthermore, it allows an agent’s budget and risk preference to be known only privately to the agent). These are the main challenge areas for auction theory. A singleagent problem is to optimize a given objective subject to a constraint on the maximum probability with which each type is allocated, a.k.a., an allocation rule. Our approach is a reduction from multiagent mechanism design problem to collection of singleagent problems. We focus on maximizing revenue, but our results can be applied to other objectives (e.g., welfare). An optimal multiagent mechanism can be computed by a linear/convex program on interim allocation rules by simultaneously optimizing several singleagent mechanisms subject to joint feasibility of the allocation rules. For singleunit auctions, Border (1991) showed that the space of all jointly feasible interim allocation rules for n agents is a Ddimensional convex polytope which can be specified by 2D linear constraints, where D is the total number of all agents’