Robust Pricing in Dynamic Mechanism Design

Part of Proceedings of the International Conference on Machine Learning 1 pre-proceedings (ICML 2020)

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Yuan Deng, S├ębastien Lahaie, Vahab Mirrokni


<p>Motivated by the repeated sale of online ads via auctions, optimal pricing in repeated auctions has attracted a large body of research. While dynamic mechanisms offer powerful techniques to improve on both revenue and efficiency by optimizing auctions across different items, their reliance on exact distributional information of buyers' valuations (present and future) limits their use in practice. In this paper, we propose robust dynamic mechanism design. We develop a new framework to design dynamic mechanisms that are robust to both estimation errors in value distributions and strategic behavior. We apply the framework in learning environments, leading to the first policy that achieves provably low regret against the optimal dynamic mechanism in contextual auctions, where the dynamic benchmark has full and accurate distributional information.</p>