Toomas Hinnosaar (Northwestern University)
10 February 2012 @ 12:00
I study a repeated mechanism design problem where a revenue-maximizing monopolist sells a ﬁxed number of service slots to randomly arriving buyers with private values and increasing exit rates. In addition to characterizing the fully optimal mechanism, I study the optimal mechanisms in two restricted classes. First, the pure calendar mechanism, where the seller allocates future service dates instead of general promises. The unique optimal pure calendar mechanism is characterized in terms of the opportunity costs of allocating additional service slots. Second, I analyze the waiting list mechanism, where promises of delayed service can depend on future arrivals, but the seller cannot discriminate among buyers who are oﬀered the same position in the waiting list. Both the waiting list and the fully optimal mechanism are implemented by non-standard auctions with a scoring rule where the distance between buyers’ bids aﬀects the allocation. A novel property of these auctions is that for buyers it is better to win by a close margin and it is worse to lose by a close margin. Finally, I model partial commitment power as a penalty that the seller has to pay when forfeiting a promise. All the results are given for general partial commitment and therefore include full commitment and no commitment as special cases.