, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 127-143

Implementation of the revenue-maximizing auction by an ignorant seller

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In a general auction framework with independent private values, we propose a game, with a simple economic interpretation, that allows to implement the revenue-maximizing auction outcome when the seller ignores the distributions of the different bidders’ valuations. In this detail-free implementation procedure, an ascending-price contest is organized and the winner volunteers a payment to the seller; this payment can then be challenged by another bidder who knows the distribution of the winner’s valuation.

Received: 4 June 2003, Accepted: 4 April 2005,
We have benefited from comments by seminar participants at the Econometric Society North American Winter Meeting and European Meeting, PURC University of Florida, University of Wisconsin, as well as by two referees and an Associate Editor. The authors also wish to acknowledge the hospitality of IDEI in Toulouse where they started this research. The second author acknowledges the financial support of CRSHC, CIRANO and the Bell University Labs.