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Wednesday, August 12, 2020
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Online Event

Ulric B. and Evelyn L. Bray Social Sciences Seminar

Incentives and Efficiency in Constrained Allocation Mechanisms
Joseph Root, Linde Postdoctoral Scholar in Economics, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Caltech,

Abstract: We study private-good allocation mechanisms where an arbitrary constraint delimits the set of feasible joint allocations. This generality provides a unified perspective over several prominent examples that can be parameterized as constraints in this model, including house allocation, roommate assignment, and social choice. We first characterize the set of two-agent strategy-proof and Pareto efficient mechanisms, showing that every mechanism is a "local dictatorship." For more than two agents, we leverage this result to provide a new characterization of group strategy-proofness. In particular, an N-agent mechanism is group strategy-proof if and only if all its two-agent marginal mechanisms (defined by holding fixed all but two agents' preferences) are individually strategy-proof and Pareto efficient. To illustrate their usefulness, we apply these results to the roommates problem to discover the novel finding that all group strategy-proof and Pareto efficient mechanisms are generalized serial dictatorships, a new class of mechanisms. Our results also yield a simple new proof of the Gibbard-Satterthwaite Theorem.

Written with David Ahn. Dr. Root will be joined by guest Ivan Balbuzanov.

How to view the seminar:
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For more information, please contact Letty Diaz by phone at 626-395-1255 or by email at