Incentives and Efficiency in Constrained Allocation Mechanisms


Micro Theory Seminar

United States

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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. Our results also yield a simple new proof of the Gibbard-Satterthwaite Theorem.

Joseph Root

Joseph Root