In a Vickrey auction, if one bidder can invest to increase his value, the combined mechanism including investments is still fully optimal. By contrast, there exist monotone allocation rules that are arbitrarily close to the the allocative optimum, but such that the associated mechanism with investments by one bidder cannot guarantee any positive fraction of the full optimum. The presented paper in this Virtual Market Design Seminar shows that if a monotone allocation rule that guarantees some fraction of the allocative optimum also “excludes bossy negative externalities”, then the same guarantee applies to the combined mechanism with investments. They show moreover that a mild weakening of this property is necessary and sufficient for the result.


Shengwu Li

Harvard University, Cambridge, USA

Download Paper “Investment Incentives in Near-Optimal Mechanisms” as PDF file

If you would like to participate and to stay up to date about upcoming presentations, please join our mailing list. You will receive the Zoom link for each talk.

The seminar presentations are scheduled to last 60 minutes: 45 minutes of presentation and 15 minutes for both comments and questions.

We will experiment with various methods for questions: A moderator collects questions during the presentation. Speakers will be encouraged to pause every few slides to allow a gap for questions. The moderator will relay clarification questions or unmute selectively during the talk. Remaining questions will be collected and asked in the discussion period.

Just like with other initiated virtual seminars, these rules are subject to change as we gain experience with how to handle the seminar most efficiently.

The idea for this format was borrowed from the Chamberlain Seminar. Other online seminars can be found at the AEA website.

The Virtual Market Design Seminar is an open online alternative to seminars cancelled due to the COVID-19. Seminars will cover all fields from market design. The seminar presentations are scheduled to last 60 minutes, after 45 minutes of presentation, 15 minutes are for both comments and question.


23.11.2020 | 16:00 - 17:00 (CET)