Ulric B. and Evelyn L. Bray Social Sciences Seminar

Wednesday, August 12, 2020
12:00pm to 1:00pm
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Online Event
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:
Sign up for a free twitch.tv account, and tune in on Wednesdays at noon pacific time on twitch.tv/caltechecontheory. You will be able to ask questions on the twitch chat.

For more information, please contact Letty Diaz by phone at 626-395-1255 or by email at letty.diaz@caltech.edu.