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Revenue Maximization with Imprecise Distribution

by   Yingkai Li, et al.
Shanghai University of Finance & Economics
Northwestern University

We study the revenue maximization problem with an imprecisely estimated distribution of a single buyer or several independent and identically distributed buyers given that this estimation is not far away from the true distribution. We use the earth mover's distance to capture the estimation error between those two distributions in terms of both values and their probabilities, i.e., the error in value space given a quantile, and the error in quantile space given a value. We give explicit characterization of the optimal mechanisms for the single buyer setting. For the multi-buyer case, we provide an algorithm that finds an approximately optimal mechanism (FPTAS) among the family of second price auctions with a fixed reserve.


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