Selling two identical objects

Article Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Journal of Economic Theory


It is well-known that optimal (i.e., revenue-maximizing) selling mechanisms in multidimensional type spaces may involve randomization. We obtain conditions under which deterministic mechanisms are optimal for selling two identical, indivisible objects to a single buyer. We analyze two settings: (i) decreasing marginal values (DMV) and (ii) increasing marginal values (IMV). Thus, the values of the buyer for the two units are not independent. We show that under a well-known condition on distributions (due to McAfee and McMillan (1988)), (a) it is optimal to sell the first unit deterministically in the DMV model and (b) it is optimal to bundle (which is a deterministic mechanism) in the IMV model. Under a stronger sufficient condition on distributions, a deterministic mechanism is optimal in the DMV model. Our results apply to heterogeneous objects when there is a specified sequence in which the two objects must be sold.



Publication Date



Open Access, Green

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