The Design of Ambiguous Mechanisms

This paper explores the sale of an object to an ambiguity averse buyer. We show that the seller can increase his profit by using an ambiguous mechanism. That is, the seller can benefit from hiding certain features of the mechanism that he has committed to from the
agent. We then characterize the profit maximizing mechanisms for the seller and characterize the conditions under which the seller can gain by employing an ambiguous mechanism. Finally, we propose a class of ambiguous mechanisms that are easy to implement and perform better than the best non-ambiguous mechanism.

Advance Access at OUP

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