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Keywords:

  • Surplus extraction;
  • information rents;
  • universal type space;
  • common prior;
  • genericity;
  • residual set

We study whether priors that admit full surplus extraction (FSE) are generic, an issue that becomes a gauge to evaluate the validity of the current mechanism design paradigm. We consider the space of priors on the universal type space, and thereby relax the assumption of a fixed finite number of types made by Crémer and McLean (1988). We show that FSE priors are topologically generic, contrary to the result of Heifetz and Neeman (2006) that FSE is generically impossible, both geometrically and measure-theoretically. Instead of using the BDP approach or convex combinations of priors adopted in Heifetz and Neeman (2006), we prove our genericity results by showing a robustness property of Crémer–McLean mechanisms.