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Combinatorial Exchange

After my post I received a couple of arguments:

  1. You are confusing concepts of price and cost“. I guess I gave a bad example. A better example would be a market of wireless spectrum or a competition between airlines for airport takeoff and landing allocation. I am standing still on the fact that these examples tell a lot about revealed preferences. I have more to add to this topic (below).
  2. Multilateral exchanges involving multiple resources should be considered in monetary equivalents“. I disagree with this point as multilateral exchanges with multiple resources appeared well before the invention of money, shortly after human started experimenting with division of labor in early ages.

Right after my post I decided to search for papers on this topic and came across an excellent work (from which I gave examples to respond to argument #1) done by David Parkes et al. at Harvard University. As I wrote in my comment, based on this paper, what I am looking at is a combinatorial exchange that combines and generalizes two different mechanisms: double auction (multiple buyers and sellers, an identical good) and combinatorial auction (single seller has multiple heterogeneous items up for sale). The concept of price does appear in the context of combinatorial exchanges. It also appears that combinatorial exchanges are able to handle much more complex logic, like AND, OR, XOR.

Putting complexity aside, combinatorial exchanges (and even combinatorial auctions) allow to get much more accurate picture of demand (even with very few buyers) thanks to revealed preferences. This lands itself for great opportunities in marketing and not only there. But one should use this information with caution as complexity may skew numbers.

Speaking of combinatorial exchanges. iPredict launched its first market of conditional event derivatives last week. Thanks for Chris Masse  from Midas Oracle .Org for the pointer.

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