Combinatorial auctions with decreasing marginal utilities

Benny Lehmann, Daniel Lehmann*, Noam Nisan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

146 Scopus citations


In most of microeconomic theory, consumers are assumed to exhibit decreasing marginal utilities. This paper considers combinatorial auctions among such buyers. The valuations of such buyers are placed within a hierarchy of valuations that exhibit no complementarities, a hierarchy that includes also OR and XOR combinations of singleton valuations, and valuations satisfying the gross substitutes property. While we show that the allocation problem among valuations with decreasing marginal utilities is NP-hard, we present an efficient greedy 2-approximation algorithm for this case. No such approximation algorithm exists in a setting allowing for complementarities. Some results about strategic aspects of combinatorial auctions among players with decreasing marginal utilities are also presented.

Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages11
StatePublished - 2001
EventEC'01: Proceedings of the 3rd ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce - Tampa, FL, United States
Duration: 14 Oct 200117 Oct 2001


ConferenceEC'01: Proceedings of the 3rd ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityTampa, FL

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
✩ A preliminary version of this paper has been presented at EC-2001. Supported by grants from the Israeli Ministry of Science and the Israeli Academy of Sciences. Corresponding author. E-mail addresses: [email protected] (D. Lehmann), [email protected] (N. Nisan). § Benny passed away on July 1st, 2004.


Dive into the research topics of 'Combinatorial auctions with decreasing marginal utilities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this