Incentive compatible budget elicitation in multi-unit auctions
In this paper, we consider the problem of designing incentive compatible auctions for multiple (homogeneous) units of a good, when bidders have private valuations and private budget constraints. When only the valuations are private and the budgets are public, Dobzinski et al  show that the adaptive clinching auction is the unique incentive-compatible auction achieving Pareto-optimality. They further show that this auction is not truthful with private budgets, so that there is no deterministic Pareto-optimal auction with private budgets. Our main contribution is to show the following Budget Monotonicity property of this auction: When there is only one infinitely divisible good, a bidder cannot improve her utility by reporting a budget smaller than the truth. This implies that the adaptive clinching auction is incentive compatible when over-reporting the budget is not possible (for instance, when funds must be shown upfront). We can also make reporting larger budgets suboptimal with a small randomized modification to the auction. In either case, this makes the modified auction Pareto-optimal with private budgets. We also show that the Budget Monotonicity property does not hold for auctioning indivisible units of the good, showing a sharp contrast between the divisible and indivisible cases. The Budget Monotonicity property also implies other improved results in this context. For revenue maximization, the same auction improves the best-known competitive ratio due to Abrams  by a factor of 4, and asymptotically approaches the performance of the optimal single-price auction. Finally, we consider the problem of revenue maximization (or social welfare) in a Bayesian setting. We allow the bidders have public size constraints (on the amount of good they are willing to buy) in addition to private budget constraints. We show a simple poly-time computable 5.83-approximation to the optimal Bayesian incentive compatible mechanism, that is implementable in dominant strategies. Our technique again crucially needs the ability to prevent bidders from over-reporting budgets via randomization. We show the approximation result via designing a rounding scheme for an LP relaxation of the problem, which may be of independent interest. Copyright © by SIAM.
Bhattacharya, S; Conitzer, V; Munagala, K; Xia, L
Proceedings of the Annual Acm Siam Symposium on Discrete Algorithms
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