82 research outputs found

    Composable and Efficient Mechanisms

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    We initiate the study of efficient mechanism design with guaranteed good properties even when players participate in multiple different mechanisms simultaneously or sequentially. We define the class of smooth mechanisms, related to smooth games defined by Roughgarden, that can be thought of as mechanisms that generate approximately market clearing prices. We show that smooth mechanisms result in high quality outcome in equilibrium both in the full information setting and in the Bayesian setting with uncertainty about participants, as well as in learning outcomes. Our main result is to show that such mechanisms compose well: smoothness locally at each mechanism implies efficiency globally. For mechanisms where good performance requires that bidders do not bid above their value, we identify the notion of a weakly smooth mechanism. Weakly smooth mechanisms, such as the Vickrey auction, are approximately efficient under the no-overbidding assumption. Similar to smooth mechanisms, weakly smooth mechanisms behave well in composition, and have high quality outcome in equilibrium (assuming no overbidding) both in the full information setting and in the Bayesian setting, as well as in learning outcomes. In most of the paper we assume participants have quasi-linear valuations. We also extend some of our results to settings where participants have budget constraints

    Econometrics for Learning Agents

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    The main goal of this paper is to develop a theory of inference of player valuations from observed data in the generalized second price auction without relying on the Nash equilibrium assumption. Existing work in Economics on inferring agent values from data relies on the assumption that all participant strategies are best responses of the observed play of other players, i.e. they constitute a Nash equilibrium. In this paper, we show how to perform inference relying on a weaker assumption instead: assuming that players are using some form of no-regret learning. Learning outcomes emerged in recent years as an attractive alternative to Nash equilibrium in analyzing game outcomes, modeling players who haven't reached a stable equilibrium, but rather use algorithmic learning, aiming to learn the best way to play from previous observations. In this paper we show how to infer values of players who use algorithmic learning strategies. Such inference is an important first step before we move to testing any learning theoretic behavioral model on auction data. We apply our techniques to a dataset from Microsoft's sponsored search ad auction system