DP3670 | The Variable Value Environment: Auctions and Actions

Publication Date


JEL Code(s)


Programme Area(s)



This Paper introduces and formally models the variable value environment, where bidders' private values may change over time as a result of both private actions and exogenous shocks. Examples of private actions and exogenous shocks are complementary investments and exogenous changes in bidder's business, respectively. We study mechanisms that lead to efficient allocations, i.e. those in which the final value of the object to the winning bidder net of the total cost of private actions undertaken by all agents is maximized. We characterize the first best allocation, and propose a mechanism that yields the first best allocation in equilibrium. This mechanism has an inefficient pooling equilibrium along with an efficient separating equilibrium. To rule out the pooling equilibrium, we introduce a class of almost efficient mechanisms that force players to coordinate on the separating equilibrium.