Let me quote a couple of useful sentences below taken from Introduction written by the editors, Peter Cramton, Yoav Shoham, and Richard Steinberg.
- The study of combinatorial auctions thus lies at the intersection of economics, operations research, and computer science.
- There are numerous examples of combinatorial auctions in practice. As is typical of many fields, practice precedes theory. Simple combinatorial auctions have been used for many decades in, for example, estate auctions.
- Recently, a variety of industries have employed combinatorial auctions. For example, they have been used for truckload transportation, bus routes, and industrial procurement, and have been proposed for airport arrival and departure slots, as well as for allocating radio spectrum for wireless communications services.
- Auction theory is among the most influential and widely studied topics in economics over the last forty years. Auctions ask and answer the most fundamental questions in economics: who should get the goods and at what prices? In answering these questions, auctions provide the micro-foundation of markets. Indeed, many modern markets are organized as auctions.