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Incentive Compatible Allocation and Exchange of Discrete Resources


Marek Pycia


University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

M. Utku Ünver


Boston College - Department of Economics

February 2014


Abstract:     
Allocation and exchange of discrete resources such as kidneys, school seats, and many other resources for which agents have single-unit demand is conducted via direct mechanisms without monetary transfers. Incentive compatibility and efficiency are primary concerns in designing such mechanisms. We show that a mechanism is individually strategy-proof and always selects the efficient outcome with respect to some Arrovian social welfare function if and only if the mechanism is group strategy-proof and Pareto efficient. We construct the full class of these mechanisms and show that each of them can be implemented by endowing agents with control rights over resources. This new class, which we call trading cycles, contains new mechanisms as well as known mechanisms such as top trading cycles, serial dictatorships, and hierarchical exchange. We illustrate how one can use our construction to show what can and what cannot be achieved in a variety of allocation and exchange problems, and we provide an example in which the new trading-cycles mechanisms strictly Lorenz dominate all previously known mechanisms.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 76

Keywords: Individual strategy-proofness, group strategy-proofness, Pareto efficiency, Arrovian preference aggregation, matching, no-transfer allocation and exchange, single-unit demand, Lorenz dominance

JEL Classification: C78, D78

working papers series


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Date posted: January 1, 2008 ; Last revised: April 2, 2014

Suggested Citation

Pycia, Marek and Ünver, M. Utku, Incentive Compatible Allocation and Exchange of Discrete Resources (February 2014). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1079505 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1079505

Contact Information

Marek Pycia (Contact Author)
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) ( email )
405 Hilgard Avenue
Box 951361
Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States
Utku Unver
Boston College - Department of Economics ( email )
140 Commonwealth Ave.
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
United States
+1 (617) 552 2217 (Phone)
+1 (617) 552 2318 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www2.bc.edu/~unver
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