Pareto efficient combinatorial auctions: Dichotomous preferences without quasilinearity

Article Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Journal of Economic Theory


We consider a combinatorial auction model where preferences of agents over bundles of objects and payments need not be quasilinear. However, we restrict the preferences of agents to be dichotomous. An agent with dichotomous preference partitions the set of bundles of objects as acceptable and unacceptable, and at the same payment level, she is indifferent between bundles in each class but strictly prefers acceptable to unacceptable bundles. We show that there is no Pareto efficient, dominant strategy incentive compatible (DSIC), individually rational (IR) mechanism satisfying no subsidy if the domain of preferences includes all dichotomous preferences. However, a generalization of the VCG mechanism is Pareto efficient, DSIC, IR and satisfies no subsidy if the domain of preferences contains only positive income effect dichotomous preferences. We show tightness of this result: adding any non-dichotomous preference (satisfying some natural properties) to the domain of quasilinear dichotomous preferences brings back the impossibility result.



Publication Date



Open Access, Green

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