Inference from auction prices

Jason Hartline, Aleck Johnsen, Denis Nekipelov, Zihe Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Econometric inference allows an analyst to back out the values of agents in a mechanism from the rules of the mechanism and bids of the agents. This paper proposes the problem of inferring the values of agents in a mechanism from the social choice function implemented by the mechanism and the per-unit prices paid by the agents (the agent bids are not observed). For single-dimensional agents, this inference problem is a multi-dimensional inversion of the payment identity and is feasible only if the payment identity is uniquely invertible. The inversion is unique for single-unit proportional weights social choice functions (common, for example, in bandwidth allocation); and its inverse can be found efficiently. This inversion is not unique for social choice functions that exhibit complementarities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - Feb 19 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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