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Essays in mechanism design

Condorelli, D.; (2010) Essays in mechanism design. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

In chapter one I study the welfare optimal allocation of a number of identical indivisible objects to a set of heterogeneous risk-neutral agents under the hypothesis that money is not available. Agents have independent private values, which represent the maximum time that they are willing to queue to obtain a good. I show that a priority list is optimal when hazard rates of the distributions of values are increasing. Instead, queues are optimal in a symmetric setting with decreasing hazard rates. In the second chapter, I study a model in which the use of both market (e.g. auctions) and non-market mechanisms (e.g. lotteries and priority lists) for the allocation of scarce public resources can be rationalized. Agents are risk-neutral and heterogeneous in terms of their monetary value for a good and their opportunity cost of money. The designer wants to allocate a set of goods to the agents with the highest values. The designer screens agents on the basis of their observable characteristics, and extracts information on their willingness to pay using market mechanisms. I show that both market and non-market mechanism can be optimal depending on the prior information. In the last chapter I study a dynamic market model where trade for a single object is bilateral, constrained by an exogenous network structure and conducted under asymmetric information. The model provides a insights into how the position of a player in a network affects his bargaining outcomes. First, traders who provide monopolistic access to valuable portions of the trading network become intermediaries, and obtain a payoff advantage. Second, the earlier an intermediary obtains the object in the trading chain, the higher is his expected payoff. Finally, inefficient outcomes are possible, and are jointly caused by the network structure and by asymmetries of information.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Essays in mechanism design
Language:English
Additional information:Authorisation for digitisation not received
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > Economics

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