Fair Cake-Cutting in Practice
46 Pages Posted: 11 Nov 2018
Date Written: October 18, 2018
Using a lab experiment, we investigate the real-life performance of envy-free and proportional cake-cutting procedures with respect to fairness and preference manipulation. We find that envy-free procedures, in particular Selfridge-Conway and the symmetric and asymmetric versions of cut-and-choose, are fairer and also are perceived as fairer than their proportional counterparts, despite the fact that agents very often manipulate them. Our results support the practical use of these procedures, and more generally, of envy-free cake-cutting mechanisms.
We also find that subjects learn their opponents' preferences after repeated interaction and use this knowledge to improve their allocated share of the cake. Learning reduces truth-telling behavior and envy.
Keywords: cake-cutting, Selfridge-Conway, cut-and-choose, envy, perceived fairness, preference manipulation
JEL Classification: C71, C91, D63
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation