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Non-Clairvoyant Dynamic Mechanism Design

Pingzhong Tang
Song Zuo
Econometrica, vol. 88(5) (2020), pp. 1939-1963


We introduce a new family of dynamic mechanisms that restricts sellers from using future distributional knowledge. Since the allocation and pricing of each auction period do not depend on the type distributions of future periods, we call this family of dynamic mechanisms non‐clairvoyant. We develop a framework (bank account mechanisms) for characterizing, designing, and proving lower bounds for dynamic mechanisms (clairvoyant or non‐clairvoyant). We use the same methods to compare the revenue extraction power of clairvoyant and non‐clairvoyant dynamic mechanisms.