First-Price Auctions With General Information Structures: Implications for Bidding and Revenue

Dirk Bergemann, Benjamin Brooks, Stephen Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


We explore the impact of private information in sealed-bid first-price auctions. For a given symmetric and arbitrarily correlated prior distribution over values, we characterize the lowest winning-bid distribution that can arise across all information structures and equilibria. The information and equilibrium attaining this minimum leave bidders indifferent between their equilibrium bids and all higher bids. Our results provide lower bounds for bids and revenue with asymmetric distributions over values. We also report further characterizations of revenue and bidder surplus including upper bounds on revenue. Our work has implications for the identification of value distributions from data on winning bids and for the informationally robust comparison of alternative auction mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-143
Number of pages37
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics and Econometrics


  • Bayes correlated equilibrium
  • First-price auction
  • common values
  • information structure
  • interdependent values
  • private values
  • reserve price
  • revenue
  • surplus
  • welfare bounds


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