This introductory chapter provides three examples to illustrate the importance of auction theory to modern economics. These are the problem faced by a regulator wanting to regulate a monopolist with unknown costs, the design of a mechanism that will establish competition for the market when there is none, and the design of a spot market for electricity. It discusses the current treatment of auctions in existing graduate microeconomics textbooks, and compares this book and that of Klemperer (2004). It describes the book’s intended audience and its contents.
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