Limitations of VCG-based mechanisms

Shahar Dobzinski*, Noam Nisan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

43 Scopus citations


We consider computationally-efficient incentive-compatiblemechanisms that use the VCG payment scheme, and study how well theycan approximate the social welfare in auction settings. We present anovel technique for setting lower bounds on the approximation ratioof this type of mechanisms. Specifically, for combinatorial auctionsamong submodular (and thus also subadditive) bidders we prove an (m1/6) lower bound, which is close to the knownupper bound of O(m1/2), and qualitatively higher than theconstant factor approximation possible from a purely computationalpoint of view.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationSTOC'07
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 39th Annual ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing
Number of pages7
StatePublished - 2007
EventSTOC'07: 39th Annual ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: 11 Jun 200713 Jun 2007

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Annual ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing
ISSN (Print)0737-8017


ConferenceSTOC'07: 39th Annual ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA


  • Combinatorial auctions
  • Incentive compatibility


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