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Stable and metastable contract networks

Danilov, Vladimir and Karzanov, Alexander (2022): Stable and metastable contract networks.

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We consider a hypergraph (I, C), with possible multiple (hyper)edges and loops, in which the vertices i ∈ I are interpreted as agents, and the edges c ∈ C as contracts that can be concluded between agents. The preferences of each agent i concerning the contracts where i takes part are given by use of a choice function fi possessing the so-called path independent property. In this general setup we introduce the notion of stable network of contracts.

The paper contains two main results. The first one is that a general problem on stable systems of contracts for (I, C, f) is reduced to a set of special ones in which preferences of agents are described by use of so-called weak orders, or utility functions. However, for a special case of this sort, the stability may not exist. Trying to overcome this trouble when dealing with such special cases, we introduce a weaker notion of metastability for systems of contracts. Our second result is that a metastable system always exists.

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