Discussion paper

DP12964 Revenue Guarantee Equivalence

We revisit the revenue comparison of standard auction formats, including first-price, second-price, and English auctions. We rank auctions according to their revenue guarantees, i.e., the greatest lower bound of revenue across all informational environments, where we hold fixed the distribution of bidders' values. We conclude that if we restrict attention to the symmetric affiliated models of Milgrom and Weber (1982) and monotonic pure-strategy equilibria, first-price, second-price, and English auctions all have the same revenue guarantee, which is equal to that of the first-price auction as characterized by Bergemann, Brooks and Morris (2017). If we consider all equilibria or if we allow more general models of information, then first-price auctions have a greater revenue guarantee than all other auctions considered.


Bergemann, D, B Brooks and S Morris (2018), ‘DP12964 Revenue Guarantee Equivalence‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 12964. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp12964