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Price of Anarchy of Simple Auctions with Interdependent Values

Alon Eden, Michal Feldman, Inbal Talgam-Cohen and Ori Zviran

Papers from arXiv.org

Abstract: We expand the literature on the price of anarchy (PoA) of simultaneous item auctions by considering settings with correlated values; we do this via the fundamental economic model of interdependent values (IDV). It is well-known that in multi-item settings with private values, correlated values can lead to bad PoA, which can be polynomially large in the number of agents $n$. In the more general model of IDV, we show that the PoA can be polynomially large even in single-item settings. On the positive side, we identify a natural condition on information dispersion in the market, termed $\gamma$-heterogeneity, which enables good PoA guarantees. Under this condition, we show that for single-item settings, the PoA of standard mechanisms degrades gracefully with $\gamma$. For settings with $m>1$ items we show a separation between two domains: If $n \geq m$, we devise a new simultaneous item auction with good PoA (with respect to $\gamma$), under limited information asymmetry. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first positive PoA result for correlated values in multi-item settings. The main technical difficulty in establishing this result is that the standard tool for establishing PoA results -- the smoothness framework -- is unsuitable for IDV settings, and so we must introduce new techniques to address the unique challenges imposed by such settings. In the domain of $n \ll m$, we establish impossibility results even for surprisingly simple scenarios.

Date: 2020-11, Revised 2021-02
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-des, nep-gth and nep-mic
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