Munich Personal RePEc Archive

How to divide things fairly

Brams, Steven and Kilgour, D. Marc and Klamler, Christian (2014): How to divide things fairly.

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Abstract

We analyze a simple sequential algorithm (SA) for allocating indivisible items that are strictly ranked by n ≥ 2 players. It yields at least one Pareto-optimal allocation which, when n = 2, is envy-free unless no envy-free allocation exists. However, an SA allocation may not be maximin or Borda maximin—maximize the minimum rank, or the Borda score—of the items received by a player. Although SA is potentially vulnerable to manipulation, it would be difficult to manipulate in the absence of one player’s having complete information about the other players’ preferences. We discuss the applicability of SA, such as in assigning people to committees or allocating marital property in a divorce.

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