We investigate equilibrium bidding in first-price auctions with asymmetric reserve prices. For example, the auctioneer may set a low reserve price for one subset of bidders and a high reserve price for others. When used to pursue a distributional objective, lowering the reserve price for some bidders channels benefits toward marginal agents in the favored group and does not adversely impact nonfavored bidders whose reserve price is unchanged. Even in symmetric environments, when the valuation distribution is not regular, introducing asymmetric reserve prices can increase the auctioneer's revenue compared to an optimal common reserve price. Implications for auction design are considered.


Kotowski, Maciej. "On Asymmetric Reserve Prices." Theoretical Economics 13.1 (January 2018): 205-237.