Beckmann's approach to multi-item multi-bidder auctions

When and Where

Tuesday, April 18, 2023 2:10 pm to 3:00 pm
Stewart Library
Fields Institute, 222 College St.


Aleksandr Zimin, MIT


We consider the problem of revenue-maximizing Bayesian auction design with several bidders having independent private values over several items. We show that it can be reduced to the problem of continuous optimal transportation introduced by Beckmann (1952) where the optimal transportation flow generalizes the concept of ironed virtual valuations to the multi-item setting. We establish the strong duality between the two problems and the existence of solutions. The results rely on insights from majorization and optimal transportation theories and on the characterization of feasible interim mechanisms by Hart and Reny (2015).

Background material can be accessed here.