Treasury debt and other divisible securities are traditionally sold in either a pay-your-bid (discriminatory) auction or a uniform-price auction. We compare these auction formats with a Vickrey auction and also with two ascending-bid auctions. The Vickrey auction and the alternative ascending-bid auction (Ausubel 1996) have important theoretical advantages for sellers. In a setting without private information, these auctions achieve the maximal revenue as a unique equilibrium in dominant strategies. In contrast, the pay-your-bid, uniform-price, and standard ascending-bid auction admit a multiplicity of equilibria that yield low revenues for the seller. We show how these results extend to a setting where bidders have affiliated private information. Our results question the standard ways that securities are offered to the public.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/cramton/62/