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Ascending price Vickrey auctions for general valuations

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  • Mathematics

Abstract

Ascending price auctions typically involve a single price path with buyers paying their final bid price. Using this traditional definition, no ascending price auction can achieve the Vickrey-Clarke-Groves (VCG) outcome for general private valuations in the combinatorial auction setting. We relax this definition by allowing discounts to buyers from the final price of the auction (or alternatively, calculating the discounts dynamically during the auction) while still maintaining a single price path. Using a notion called universal competitive equilibrium prices, shown to be necessary and sufficient to achieve the VCG outcome using ascending price auctions, we define a broad class of ascending price combinatorial auctions in which truthful bidding by buyers is an ex post Nash equilibrium. Any auction in this class achieves the VCG outcome and ex post efficiency for general valuations. We define two specific auctions in this class by generalizing two known auctions in the literature [11, 24].

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