Truthful randomized mechanisms for combinatorial auctions

Shahar Dobzinski*, Noam Nisan, Michael Schapira

*Corresponding author for this work

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

101 Scopus citations


We design two computationally-efficient incentive-compatible mechanisms for combinatorial auctions with general bidder preferences. Both mechanisms are randomized, and are incentive-compatible in the universal sense. This is in contrast to recent previous work that only addresses the weaker notion of incentive compatibility in expectation. The first mechanism obtains an O(√m)-approximation of the optimal social welfare for arbitrary bidder valuations - this is the best approximation possible in polynomial time. The second one obtains an O(log2 m)-approximation for a subclass of bidder valuations that includes all submodular bidders. This improves over the best previously obtained incentive-compatible mechanism for this class which only provides an O(√m)-approximation.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationSTOC'06
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 38th Annual ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)1595931341, 9781595931344
StatePublished - 2006
Event38th Annual ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing, STOC'06 - Seattle, WA, United States
Duration: 21 May 200623 May 2006

Publication series

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


Conference38th Annual ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing, STOC'06
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySeattle, WA

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Moshe Babaioff, Liad Blumrosen, Uri Feige, Ron Lavi, Ahuva Mu’alem, and Chaitanya Swamy for helpful discussions and comments. The second author is supported by a grant from the Israeli Academy of Sciences. The third author is supported by NSF grant 0331548. The work was partially done when the first and third authors were in the Hebrew University and were supported by a grant from the Israeli Academy of Sciences. A preliminary version of this paper appeared in STOC’06.


  • Combinatorial Auctions
  • Incentive Compatibility


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