An Efficient Auction for Multiple Objects

  • Ausubel L
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Abstract

When bidders exhibit multi-unit demands, standard auction methods generally yield inefficient outcomes. This article proposes a new ascending-bid auction for homo- geneous goods, such as Treasury bills or telecommunications spectrum. The auc- tioneer 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.

Author-supplied keywords

  • ascending auctions
  • auctions
  • efficient auctions
  • multi-unit auctions
  • vickrey auctions

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Authors

  • Lawrence M. Ausubel

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