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Optimal Robust Mechanism in Bilateral Trading

Komal Malik

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Abstract: We consider a model of bilateral trade with private values. The value of the buyer and the cost of the seller are jointly distributed. The true joint distribution is unknown to the designer, however, the marginal distributions of the value and the cost are known to the designer. The designer wants to find a trading mechanism that is robustly Bayesian incentive compatible, robustly individually rational, budget-balanced and maximizes the expected gains from trade over all such mechanisms. We refer to such a mechanism as an optimal robust mechanism. We establish equivalence between Bayesian incentive compatible mechanisms (BIC) and dominant strategy mechanisms (DSIC). We characterise the worst distribution for a given mechanism and use this characterisation to find an optimal robust mechanism. We show that there is an optimal robust mechanism that is deterministic (posted-price), dominant strategy incentive compatible, and ex-post individually rational. We also derive an explicit expression of the posted-price of such an optimal robust mechanism. We also show the equivalence between the efficiency gains from the optimal robust mechanism (max-min problem) and guaranteed efficiency gains if the designer could choose the mechanism after observing the true joint distribution (min-max problem).

Date: 2022-12
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-des and nep-mic
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