Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Putting Auction Theory to Work

Part of Churchill Lectures in Economics

  • Date Published: January 2004
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521551847


Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Paperback, eBook

Looking for an examination copy?

This title is not currently available for examination. However, if you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • 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.Visit the author's website for instructor resources.

    • Author is the world's leading active scholar on auctions, internationally celebrated for his research on auction design
    • The most comprehensive and up-to-date book on the subject; author answers his critics in the literature
    • A must-buy for graduate students
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    "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

    "Milgrom's ideas were critical to helping the FCC design its multi-billion dollar spectrum auctions. His thoughtful economic reasoning and attention to practical detail made the auctions successful. Whether you are seeking careful theorizing or practical insights, Milgrom's work is the first place to look." Reed Hundt, Former Chair, Federal Communications Commission

    "Paul Milgrom is universally acclaimed as one of the outstanding economic theorists of our generation. He has turned auction theory into the crucial tool for modern market design. His book will be an essential resource for theorists and practitioners alike." Paul Klemperer, University of Oxford

    "In Paul Milgrom's hands, auction theory has become the great culmination of game theory and economics of information. Here elegant mathematics meets practical applications and yields deep insights into the general theory of markets. Milgrom's book will be the definitive reference in auction theory for decades to come." Roger Myerson, University of Chicago

    "Market design is one of the most exciting developments in contemporary economics and game theory, and who can resist a master class from one of the giants of the field?" Al Roth, Harvard University

    "No one is better qualified than Paul Milgrom to give an up-to-date and lucid guide to the accomplishments of auction theory. Both rigorous and enjoyable to read, this exciting book is a must for graduate students and auction designers." Jean Tirole, Institut d'Economie Industrielle, Toulouse, France

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2004
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521551847
    • length: 394 pages
    • dimensions: 240 x 158 x 26 mm
    • weight: 0.65kg
    • contains: 8 b/w illus. 4 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Section 1. Getting to Work:
    1. Politics sets the stage
    2. Designing for multiple goals
    3. Comparing seller revenues
    4. The academic critics
    5. Plan for this book
    Part I. The Mechanism Design Approach
    Section 2. Vickrey–Clarke–Groves Mechanisms:
    6. Formulation
    7. Always optimal and weakly dominant strategies
    8. Balancing the budget
    9. Uniqueness
    10. Disadvantages of the Vickrey auction
    11. Conclusion
    Section 3. The Envelope Theorem and Payoff Equivalence:
    12. Hottelling's lemma
    13. The envelope theorem in integral form
    14. Quasi-linear payoffs
    15. Conclusion
    Section 4. Bidding Equilibrium and Revenue Differences:
    16. The single crossing conditions
    17. Deriving and verifying equilibrium strategies
    18. Revenue comparisons in the benchmark model
    19. Expected-revenue maximizing auctions
    20. Conclusion
    Section 5. Interdependence of Types and Values:
    21. Which models and assumptions are 'useful'?
    22. Statistical dependence and revenue-maximizing auctions
    23. Wilson's drainage tract model
    24. Correlated types model interdependent values
    25. Conclusion
    Section 6. Auctions in Context:
    26. The profit and surplus contribution of an entrant
    27. Symmetric models with costly entry
    28. Asymmetric models: devices to promote competition
    29. After the bidding ends
    30. Conclusion
    Part II. Multi-Unit Auctions
    Section 7. Uniform Price Auctions:
    31. Uniform price sealed bid auctions
    32. Simultaneous ascending auctions
    33. Conclusion
    Section 8. Package Auctions and Combinatorial Bidding:
    34. Vickrey auctions and the monotonicity problems
    35. Bernheim–Whinston first-price package auctions
    36. Ausubel–Milgrom ascending proxy auctions
    37. Conclusion.

  • Resources for

    Putting Auction Theory to Work

    Paul Milgrom

    General Resources

    Find resources associated with this title

    Type Name Unlocked * Format Size

    Showing of

    Back to top

    *This title has one or more locked files and access is given only to instructors adopting the textbook for their class. We need to enforce this strictly so that solutions are not made available to students. To gain access to locked resources you either need first to sign in or register for an account.

    These resources are provided free of charge by Cambridge University Press with permission of the author of the corresponding work, but are subject to copyright. You are permitted to view, print and download these resources for your own personal use only, provided any copyright lines on the resources are not removed or altered in any way. Any other use, including but not limited to distribution of the resources in modified form, or via electronic or other media, is strictly prohibited unless you have permission from the author of the corresponding work and provided you give appropriate acknowledgement of the source.

    If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

  • Author

    Paul Milgrom, Stanford University, California

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.