Theses Doctoral

Network Resource Allocation Under Fairness Constraints

Chandramouli, Shyam Sundar

This work considers the basic problem of allocating resources among a group of agents in a network, when the agents are equipped with single-peaked preferences over their assignments. This generalizes the classical claims problem, which concerns the division of an estate's liquidation value when the total claim on it exceeds this value. The claims problem also models the problem of rationing a single commodity, or the problem of dividing the cost of a public project among the people it serves, or the problem of apportioning taxes. A key consideration in this classical literature is equity: the good (or the ``bad,'' in the case of apportioning taxes or costs) should be distributed as fairly as possible. The main contribution of this dissertation is a comprehensive treatment of a generalization of this classical rationing problem to a network setting.
Bochet et al. recently introduced a generalization of the classical rationing problem to the network setting. For this problem they designed an allocation mechanism---the egalitarian mechanism---that is Pareto optimal, envy free and strategyproof. In chapter 2, it is shown that the egalitarian mechanism is in fact group strategyproof, implying that no coalition of agents can collectively misreport their information to obtain a (weakly) better allocation for themselves. Further, a complete characterization of the set of all group strategyproof mechanisms is obtained.
The egalitarian mechanism satisfies many attractive properties, but fails consistency, an important property in the literature on rationing problems. It is shown in chapter 3 that no Pareto optimal mechanism can be envy-free and consistent. Chapter 3 is devoted to the edge-fair mechanism that is Pareto optimal, group strategyproof, and consistent. In a related model where the agents are located on the edges of the graph rather than the nodes, the edge-fair rule is shown to be envy-free, group strategyproof, and consistent.
Chapter 4 extends the egalitarian mechanism to the problem of finding an optimal exchange in non-bipartite networks. The results vary depending on whether the commodity being exchanged is divisible or indivisible. For the latter case, it is shown that no efficient mechanism can be strategyproof, and that the egalitarian mechanism is Pareto optimal and envy-free. Chapter 5 generalizes recent work on finding stable and balanced allocations in graphs with unit capacities and unit weights to more general networks. The existence of a stable and balanced allocation is established by a transformation to an equivalent unit capacity network.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Industrial Engineering and Operations Research
Thesis Advisors
Sethuraman, Jayachandran
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 7, 2014