A general elicitation-free protocol for allocating indivisible goods
Sylvain Bouveret and Jérôme Lang
We consider the following sequential allocation process. We have a set of indivisible objects that a benevolent central authority has to allocate to a set of agents whose preferences he is totally ignorant of. The process consists in allocating items one after the other by designating an agent and asking her to pick one of the objects among those that remain. The problem consists in choosing the "best" sequence of agents, according to some optimality criterion. We assume that agents have additive preferences over objects. The choice of an optimality criterion depends on three parameters: how utilities of objects are related to their ranking in an agent's preference relation; the probability distribution over collection of preference relations; and how social welfare is defined from the agents' utilities. We address the computation of a sequence maximizing expected social welfare under several assumptions. We also address strategical issues.