Multi-unit auctions: Beyond roberts

Shahar Dobzinski*, Noam Nisan

*Corresponding author for this work

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

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

We exhibit incentive compatible multi-unit auctions that are not affine maximizers (i.e., are not of the VCG family) and yet approximate the social welfare to within a factor of 1+ε. For the case of two-item two-bidder auctions we show that these auctions, termed Triage auctions, are the only scalable ones that give an approximation factor better than 2. "Scalable" means that the allocation does not depend on the units in which the valuations are measured. We deduce from this that any scalable computationally-efficient incentive-compatible auction for m items and n ≥ 2 bidders cannot approximate the social welfare to within a factor better than 2. This is in contrast to arbitrarily good approximations that can be reached under computational constraints alone, and in contrast to the existence of incentive-compatible mechanisms that achieve the optimal allocation.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationEC'11 - Proceedings of the 12th ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce
Pages233-242
Number of pages10
DOIs
StatePublished - 2011
Event12th ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce, EC'11 - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: 5 Jun 20119 Jun 2011

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce

Conference

Conference12th ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce, EC'11
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Jose, CA
Period5/06/119/06/11

Keywords

  • incentive compatibility
  • multi-unit auctions

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