Envy-Free Sponsored Search Auctions with Budgets / 653
Bo Tang, Jinshan Zhang
We study the problem of designing envy-free sponsored search auctions, where bidders are budget-constrained. Our primary goal is to design auctions that maximize social welfare and revenue — two classical objectives in auction theory. For this purpose, we characterize envy-freeness with budgets by proving several elementary properties including consistency, monotonicity and transitivity. Based on this characterization, we come up with an envy-free auction, that is both social-optimal and bidder-optimal for a wide class of bidder types. More generally, for all bidder types, we provide two polynomial time approximation schemes (PTASs) for maximizing social welfare or revenue, where the notion of envy-freeness has been relaxed slightly. Finally, in cases where randomization is allowed in designing auctions, we devise similar PTASs for social welfare or revenue maximization problems.