nep-des New Economics Papers
on Economic Design
Issue of 2020‒04‒13
six papers chosen by
Alex Teytelboym
University of Oxford

  1. Product-Mix Auction By Paul Klemperer
  2. Solving Strong-Substitutes Product-Mix Auctions By Elizabeth Baldwin; Paul W. Goldberg; Paul Klemperer; Edwin Lock
  3. Reversing Reserves By Parag A. Pathak; Alex Rees-Jones; Tayfun Sönmez
  4. Market Design, Human Behavior, and Management By Yan Chen; Peter Cramton; John A. List; Axel Ockenfels
  5. On some k-scoring rules for committee elections: agreement and Condorcet Principle By Mostapha Diss; Eric Kamwa; Abdelmonaim Tlidi
  6. Egalitarian solution for games with discrete side payment By Takafumi Otsuka

  1. By: Paul Klemperer (Nuffield College, University of Oxford)
    Abstract: The “Product-Mix Auction” is a single-round auction that can be used whenever an auctioneer wants to sell (or buy) multiple differentiated goods. It allows all participants to express their preferences between varieties, as well as for alternative quantities of specific varieties. Bidders simultaneously make sets of bids. Each of a bidder’s bids can be an "OR” bid that offers a different price for each different variety, and the auction then accepts at most one of the offers from each bid (whichever is best for the bidder given the prices that the auction sets). The graphical solution method makes the operation and merits of the auction easy to explain. The auction is more efficient, and less sensitive to market power, than either running a separate auction for each different variety or running a combined auction with predetermined price differences between varieties. It is also faster, less vulnerable to collusion, and can be easier to use and understand than a simultaneous multiple round auction (SMRA). Moreover, unlike in an SMRA, the auctioneer can specify how the quantities to be sold will depend on the auction prices, by choosing supply functions across varieties. Related material is at
    Date: 2018–12–17
  2. By: Elizabeth Baldwin (Dept. of Economics, Oxford University); Paul W. Goldberg (Dept. of Computer Science, Oxford University); Paul Klemperer (Dept. of Economics, Oxford University); Edwin Lock (Dept. of Computer Science, Oxford University)
    Abstract: This paper develops algorithms to solve strong-substitutes product-mix auctions: it finds competitive equilibrium prices and quantities for agents who use this auction’s bidding language to truthfully express their strong-substitutes preferences over an arbitrary number of goods, each of which is available in multiple discrete units. Our use of the bidding language, and the information it provides, contrasts with existing algorithms that rely on access to a valuation or demand oracle. We compute market-clearing prices using algorithms that apply existing submodular minimisation methods. Allocating the supply among the bidders at these prices then requires solving a novel constrained matching problem. Our algorithm iteratively simplifies the allocation problem, perturbing bids and prices in a way that resolves tie-breaking choices created by bids that can be accepted on more than one good. We provide practical running time bounds on both price-finding and allocation, and illustrate experimentally that our allocation mechanism is practical.
    Keywords: bidding language, product-mix auction, competitive equilibrium, Walrasian equilibrium, convex optimisation, strong substitutes, submodular minimisation
    Date: 2019–10–06
  3. By: Parag A. Pathak (MIT); Alex Rees-Jones (Cornell University); Tayfun Sönmez (Boston College)
    Abstract: Affirmative action policies are often implemented through reserve systems. We contend that the functioning of these systems is counterintuitive, and that the consequent misunderstanding leads individuals to support policies that ineffectively pursue their goals. We present 1,013 participants in the Understanding America Study with incen- tivized choices between reserve policies that vary in all decision-relevant parameters. Many subjects’ choices are rationalized by a nearly correct decision rule, with errors driven solely by the incorrect belief that reversing the processing order has no effect. The prevalence of this belief helps to explain otherwise surprising decisions made in field applications of reserve systems.
    Keywords: affirmative action, reserve systems, experimental economics, behavioral market design
    JEL: C9 D9 D47
    Date: 2020–04–01
  4. By: Yan Chen; Peter Cramton; John A. List; Axel Ockenfels
    Abstract: We review past research and discuss future directions on how the vibrant research areas of market design and behavioral economics have influenced and will continue to impact the science and practice of management in both the private and public sectors. Using examples from various auction markets, reputation and feedback systems in online markets, matching markets in education, and labor markets, we demonstrate that combining market design theory, behavioral insights, and experimental methods can lead to fruitful implementation of superior market designs in practice.
    JEL: C91 C93 D4 D47 D9
    Date: 2020–03
  5. By: Mostapha Diss (GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - ENS Lyon - École normale supérieure - Lyon - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université de Lyon - UJM - Université Jean Monnet [Saint-Étienne] - Université de Lyon - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Eric Kamwa (LC2S - Laboratoire caribéen de sciences sociales - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UA - Université des Antilles); Abdelmonaim Tlidi (ENSA Marrakech - École nationale des sciences appliquées de Marrakech)
    Abstract: Given a collection of individual preferences on a set of candidates and a desired number of winners, a multi-winner voting rule outputs groups of winners, which we call committees. In this paper, we consider five multi-winner voting rules widely studied in the literature of social choice theory: the k-Plurality rule, the k-Borda rule, the k-Negative Plurality rule, the Bloc rule, and the Chamberlin-Courant rule. The objective of this paper is to provide a comparison of these multi-winner voting rules according to many principles by taking into account a probabilistic approach using the well-known Impartial Anonymous Culture (IAC) assumption. We first evaluate the probability that each pair of the considered voting rules selects the same unique committee in order to identify which multi-winner rules are the most likely to agree for a given number of candidates and a fixed target size of the committee. In this matter, our results show that the Chamberlin-Courant rule and the k-Plurality rule on one side, and the k-Borda rule and the Bloc rule on the other side, are the pairs of rules that most agree in comparison to other pairs. Furthermore, we evaluate the probability of every multi-winner voting rule selecting the Condorcet committee à la Gehrlein when it exists. The Condorcet committee à la Gehrlein is a fixed-size committee such that every member defeats every non-member in pairwise comparisons. In addition, we compare the considered multi-winner voting rules according to their ability (susceptibility) to select a committee containing the Condorcet winner (loser) when one exists. Here, our results tell us that in general, the k-Borda rule has the highest performance amongst all the considered voting rules. Finally, we highlight that this paper is one of the very rare contributions in the literature giving exact results under the Impartial Anonymous Culture (IAC) condition for the case of four candidates.
    Keywords: Scoring rules,Chamberlin-Courant,Borda,Condorcet,Voting,Committee
    Date: 2020
  6. By: Takafumi Otsuka
    Abstract: In this paper, we study the egalitarian solution for games with discrete side payment, where the characteristic function is integer-valued and payoffs of players are integral vectors. The egalitarian solution, introduced by Dutta and Ray in 1989, is a solution concept for transferable utility cooperative games in characteristic form, which combines commitment for egalitarianism and promotion of indivisual interests in a consistent manner. We first point out that the nice properties of the egalitarian solution (in the continuous case) do not extend to games with discrete side payment. Then we show that the Lorenz stable set, which may be regarded a variant of the egalitarian solution, has nice properties such as the Davis and Maschler reduced game property and the converse reduced game property. For the proofs we utilize recent results in discrete convex analysis on decreasing minimization on an M-convex set investigated by Frank and Murota.
    Date: 2020–03

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