Market Good Flexibility in Capacity Auctions



We consider the allocation of limited production capacity among several competing agents through auctions. Our focus is on the contribution of flexibility in market good design to effective capacity allocation. The application studied is a capacity allocation problem involving several agents, each with a job, and a facility owner. Each agent generates revenue by purchasing capacity and scheduling its job at the facility. Ascending auctions with various market good designs are compared. We introduce a new market good that provides greater flexibility than those previously considered in the literature. We allow ask prices to depend both on agents’ utility functions and on the number of bids at the previous round of the auction, in order to model and resolve resource conflicts. We develop both optimal and heuristic solution procedures for the winner determination problem. Our computational study shows that flexibility in market good design typically increases system value within auctions. A further increase is achieved if each agent is allowed to bid for multiple market goods at each round. On average, the multiple flexible market goods auction provides over 95% of the system value found by centralized planning.