nep-des New Economics Papers
on Economic Design
Issue of 2021‒01‒18
three papers chosen by
Alex Teytelboym
University of Oxford

  1. I Want to Tell You? Maximizing Revenue in First-Price Two-Stage Auctions By Galit Ashkenazi-Golan; Yevgeny Tsodikovich; Yannick Viossat
  2. Liability Design with Information Acquisition By Francisco Poggi; Bruno Strulovici
  3. Mimetic Dominance and the Economics of Exclusion: Private Goods in Public Context By Alex Imas; Kristóf Madarász

  1. By: Galit Ashkenazi-Golan (School of Mathematical Sciences [Tel Aviv] - Raymond and Beverly Sackler Faculty of Exact Sciences - Tel Aviv University [Tel Aviv]); Yevgeny Tsodikovich (AMSE - Aix-Marseille Sciences Economiques - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - ECM - École Centrale de Marseille - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Yannick Viossat (CEREMADE - CEntre de REcherches en MAthématiques de la DEcision - Université Paris Dauphine-PSL - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: A common practice in many auctions is to offer bidders an opportunity to improve their bids, known as a Best and Final Offer (BAFO) stage. This final bid can depend on new information provided about either the asset or the competitors. This paper examines the effects of new information regarding competitors, seeking to determine what information the auctioneer should provide assuming the set of allowable bids is discrete. The rational strategy profile that maximizes the revenue of the auctioneer is the one where each bidder makes the highest possible bid that is lower than his valuation of the item. This strategy profile is an equilibrium for a large enough number of bidders, regardless of the information released. We compare the number of bidders needed for this profile to be an equilibrium under different information settings. We find that it becomes an equilibrium with fewer bidders when no additional information is made available to the bidders compared to when information regarding the competition is available. As a result, from the auctioneer's revenue perspective, when the number of bidders is unknown, there are some advantages to not revealing information between the stages of the auction.
    Keywords: auctions,multistage auctions,BAFO,information utilization
    Date: 2020–10–14
  2. By: Francisco Poggi; Bruno Strulovici
    Abstract: How to guarantee that firms perform due diligence before launching potentially dangerous products? We study the design of liability rules when (i) limited liability prevents firms from internalizing the full damage they may cause, (ii) penalties are paid only if damage occurs, regardless of the product's inherent riskiness, (iii) firms have private information about their products' riskiness before performing due diligence. We show that (i) any liability mechanism can be implemented by a tariff that depends only on the evidence acquired by the firm if a damage occurs, not on any initial report by the firm about its private information, (ii) firms that assign a higher prior to product riskiness always perform more due diligence but less than is socially optimal, and (iii) under a simple and intuitive condition, any type-specific launch thresholds can be implemented by a monotonic tariff.
    Date: 2020–12
  3. By: Alex Imas (Booth School of Business); Kristóf Madarász (London School of Economics)
    Abstract: We propose that a person’s valuation from consuming an object or possessing an attribute is increasing in others’ unmet excess desire for it. Such mimetic dominance-seeking helps explain a host of market anomalies and generates novel predictions in a variety of domains. In bilateral exchange, there is a reluctance to trade, and people exhibit a ‘social’ endowment effect. The value of consuming a good increases in its scarcity, which generates a motive for exclusion. Randomly excluding potential consumers from the opportunity to acquire a product will increase profits for a classic monopolist producing at zero marginal cost and a seller’s rents in first-price auctions. We test the predictions of the model empirically. When auctioning a private good, all else equal, randomly excluding people from the opportunity to bid substantially increases bids amongst those who retain this option. Exclusion leads to bigger gains in expected revenue than increasing competition through inclusion. Such effects are absent when those excluded are known to have lower valuations. In basic exchange, a person’s willingness to pay for a good increases substantially when others are excluded from the opportunity of buying the same kind of good. Mimetic preferences have implications for both non-price and price based methods of exclusion: the model generates "Veblen effects," rationalizes attitudes against redistribution, immigration, and trade, and provides a novel motive for social stratification and discrimination
    Keywords: mimetic preferences, objects of desire, exclusion, Trade, auctions, competition, Inequality
    JEL: L12 D44 D63 F12 D40
    Date: 2021–01

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