Novel auction schemes are constantly being designed. Their design has significant consequences for the allocation of goods and the revenues generated. But how to tell whether a new design has the desired properties, such as efficiency, i.e. allocating goods to those bidders who value them most? We say: by formal, machine-checked proofs. We investigated the suitability of the Isabelle, Theorema, Mizar, and Hets/CASL/ TPTP theorem provers for reproducing a key result of auction theory: Vickrey’s 1961 theorem on the properties of second-price auctions. Based on our formalisation experience, taking an auction designer’s perspective, we give recommendations on what system to use for formalising auctions, and outline further steps towards a complete auction theory toolbox
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