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Lottery Auctions

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The talk discusses some single object sale lottery auctions (LA), where the winner is randomly drawn, with a probability proportional to the price bid. Such auctions are similar to commonly used formats of national and charity lotteries (NCL), where the winning probability depends on the number of tickets bought. However, LA differ from NCL since the object value is not endogenously determined by the amount invested by participants but rather is exogenous. For this reason the LA we study are more akin to contests “a là Tullock”. In particular, we consider a form of “second price lottery auction”. Unlike the standard Vickrey auction, an interesting result in the simplest model with two players and complete information is that in the only Nash Equilibrium where both players submit a positive price, bidders may reveal the opponent’s value and not their own value. For this reason, we named this “mirror revelation”.

This talk is part of the Microsoft Research Cambridge, public talks series.

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