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Titel | Five Essays in Economic Theory |
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Autor | Moritz Drexl |

Publikationsform | Dissertation |

Abstract | This thesis covers two main areas of microeconomic theory. The first three chapters are contributions to the theory of mechanism design and the last two chapters contribute to the literature on general equilibrium in markets with indivisibilities. Chapter one considers committees deciding collectively between accepting a given proposal and maintaining the status quo. Committee members are privately informed about their valuations and monetary transfers are possible. The social choice function maximizing utilitarian welfare is described, which takes monetary transfers to an external agency explicitly into account. For regular distributions of preferences, it is optimal to exclude monetary transfers and to decide by qualified majority voting. Chapter two studies welfare-optimal decision rules for committees that repeatedly take a binary decision. Again, committee members are privately informed about their payoffs and monetary transfers are not feasible. In static environments, the only strategy-proof mechanisms are voting rules which are inefficient as they do not condition on preference intensities. The dynamic structure of repeated decision-making allows for richer decision rules that overcome this inefficiency. Nonetheless, it is shown that often simple voting is optimal for two-person committees. Chapter three shows that in an independent private value auction environment, welfare-optimal strategy-proof mechanisms never extract any net payments from the agents and have a simple "posted price" or "option" form whenever an increasing hazard rate condition holds. In the bilateral trade environment, optimality of posted price mechanisms can be obtained without any assumption on type distributions. In chapter four, the full substitutes condition used in the trading network model of Hatfield et al. (2013) is generalized to a condition called full substitutes and complements (see Sun and Yang 2006). If all agents' preferences satisfy full substitutes and complements, competitive equilibria can be shown to exist and all desirable results about competitive equilibria carry over to the model with more diverse preferences: The welfare theorems hold and, under the full substitutes and complements condition, competitive equilibrium outcomes are precisely those that are stable. Chapter five applies the theory of Discrete Convex Analysis to economies with indivisibilities in order to derive a simple tâtonnement process for settings where agents have substitutes preferences over heterogeneous goods. Specifically, the price adjustment process discovered by Ausubel (2006) is reinterpreted in terms of a steepest descent algorithm for the minimization of discrete convex functions and generalized to settings that allow agents to be producers and/or consumers of multiple units of goods. The model is applied to the substitutes and complements setting introduced by Sun and Yang (2009), well as the trading network economy of Hatfield et al. (2013). |

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