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Sequential Posted-Price Mechanisms with Correlated Valuations

Sequential Posted-Price Mechanisms with Correlated Valuations We study the revenue performance of sequential posted-price mechanisms and some natural extensions for a setting where the valuations of the buyers are drawn from a correlated distribution. Sequential posted-price mechanisms are conceptually simple mechanisms that work by proposing a “take-it-or-leave-it” offer to each buyer. We apply sequential posted-price mechanisms to single-parameter multiunit settings in which each buyer demands only one item and the mechanism can assign the service to at most k of the buyers. For standard sequential posted-price mechanisms, we prove that with the valuation distribution having finite support, no sequential posted-price mechanism can extract a constant fraction of the optimal expected revenue, even with unlimited supply. We extend this result to the case of a continuous valuation distribution when various standard assumptions hold simultaneously (i.e., everywhere-supported, continuous, symmetric, and normalized (conditional) distributions that satisfy regularity, the MHR condition, and affiliation). In fact, it turns out that the best fraction of the optimal revenue that is extractable by a sequential posted-price mechanism is proportional to the ratio of the highest and lowest possible valuation. We prove that a simple generalization of these mechanisms achieves a better revenue performance; namely, if the sequential posted-price mechanism has for each buyer the option of either proposing an offer or asking the buyer for its valuation, then a Ω (1/max { 1,d}) fraction of the optimal revenue can be extracted, where d denotes the degree of dependence of the valuations, ranging from complete independence (d=0) to arbitrary dependence (d = n-1). http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png ACM Transactions on Economics and Computation (TEAC) Association for Computing Machinery

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References (61)

Publisher
Association for Computing Machinery
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 ACM
ISSN
2167-8375
eISSN
2167-8383
DOI
10.1145/3157085
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

We study the revenue performance of sequential posted-price mechanisms and some natural extensions for a setting where the valuations of the buyers are drawn from a correlated distribution. Sequential posted-price mechanisms are conceptually simple mechanisms that work by proposing a “take-it-or-leave-it” offer to each buyer. We apply sequential posted-price mechanisms to single-parameter multiunit settings in which each buyer demands only one item and the mechanism can assign the service to at most k of the buyers. For standard sequential posted-price mechanisms, we prove that with the valuation distribution having finite support, no sequential posted-price mechanism can extract a constant fraction of the optimal expected revenue, even with unlimited supply. We extend this result to the case of a continuous valuation distribution when various standard assumptions hold simultaneously (i.e., everywhere-supported, continuous, symmetric, and normalized (conditional) distributions that satisfy regularity, the MHR condition, and affiliation). In fact, it turns out that the best fraction of the optimal revenue that is extractable by a sequential posted-price mechanism is proportional to the ratio of the highest and lowest possible valuation. We prove that a simple generalization of these mechanisms achieves a better revenue performance; namely, if the sequential posted-price mechanism has for each buyer the option of either proposing an offer or asking the buyer for its valuation, then a Ω (1/max { 1,d}) fraction of the optimal revenue can be extracted, where d denotes the degree of dependence of the valuations, ranging from complete independence (d=0) to arbitrary dependence (d = n-1).

Journal

ACM Transactions on Economics and Computation (TEAC)Association for Computing Machinery

Published: Dec 22, 2017

Keywords: Mechanism design

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