Manipulating information providers access to information in auctions

Shani Alkoby, David Sarne, Esther David

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Information purchasing is a crucial issue that auctioneers have to consider when running auctions, in particular in auction settings where the auctioned item’s value is affected by a common value element. In such settings it is reasonable to assume the existence of a self-interested information provider. The main contribution of the information provider may be the elimination of some uncertainty associated with the common value of the auctioned item. The existence of an information provider does not necessarily impose the use of its services. Moreover, in cases in which the auctioneer decides to purchase information, it is not always beneficial for him to disclose it. In this work, we focus on environment settings where the information that may purchased still involves some uncertainty. The equilibrium analysis is provided with illustrations that highlight some non-intuitive behaviors. In particular, we show that in some cases it is beneficial for the auctioneer to initially limit the level of detail and precision of the information he may purchase. This can be achieved, for example, by limiting the information provider’s access to some of the data required to determine the exact common value. This result is non-intuitive especially in light of the fact that the auctioneer is the one who decides whether or not to use the services of the information provider; hence having the option to purchase better information may seem advantageous.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-25
Number of pages12
JournalLecture Notes in Computer Science
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Auction
  • Common value
  • Information provider
  • Self interested auctioneer


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