Putting Auction Theory to Work

Book cover for Putting Auction Theory to Work

Putting Auction Theory to Work

Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2004

Providing a comprehensive introduction to modern auction theory and its important new applications, this book is written by a leading economic theorist whose suggestions guided the creation of the new spectrum auction designs. Aimed at graduate students and professionals in economics, the volume provides the most up-to-date analysis of traditional theories of “optimal auctions” as well as newer theories of multi-unit auctions and package auctions, and shows by example how these theories are used. It explores the limitations of prominent older designs, such as the Vickrey auction design, and evaluates the practical responses to those limitations. Paul Milgrom is the Leonard and Shirley Ely Professor of Humanities and Sciences and Professor of Economics, Stanford University. He is the author of more than sixty articles and co-author of the influential textbook, Economics, Organization and Management (Prentice Hall, 1992). Professor Milgrom is a pioneer in the economic theory of auctions and co-designer of the simultaneous, multiple round auction that the FCC adopted for selling radio spectrum licenses.

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Selected Editorial Reviews
Paul Milgrom has combined fundamental work in economic theory and, in particular, the theory of auctions, with extensive practical participation in the auctions of the electromagnetic spectrum. This book is a brilliant synthesis of his own and others' contributions to the field. The impact of practical problems on the need for theory is thoroughly exemplified. The exposition of the theory has that complete ease only achievable through complete mastery and intense work.
Kenneth Arrow, Nobel Laureate, Stanford University
One of the recent revolutions in economics is an understanding that markets do not automatically work well. Design matters, and the Federal Communications Commission spectrum auction design that Milgrom pioneered kicked off a new era of market design using economic theory to make real markets work better. Now, Milgrom makes the underlying ideas and theories more widely accessible--so other markets too will reap the benefits of these insights.
Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Laureate, Columbia University
Whether you are an expert on auction theory or just a novice curious about how auction theory works, you will be in for a marvelous journey. There's no one better at capturing the essence and generality of economic ideas than Paul Milgrom. He's a master in a class of his own.
Bengt Holmstrom, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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