Fair Cake-Cutting in Practice

49 Pages Posted: 2 Jan 2019 Last revised: 9 Jan 2019

See all articles by Josue Ortega

Josue Ortega

Center for European Economic Research

Maria Kyropoulou

University of Essex - Centre for Computational Finance and Economic Agents

Erel Segal-Halevi

Ariel University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 1, 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, 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 the celebrated Selfridge-Conway procedure, 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, but also reduces envy.

Keywords: cake-cutting, Selfridge-Conway, cut-and-choose, envy, perceived fairness, preference manipulation, experimentation and learning

JEL Classification: C71, C91, D63

Suggested Citation

Ortega, Josue and Kyropoulou, Maria and Segal-Halevi, Erel, Fair Cake-Cutting in Practice (December 1, 2018). ZEW - Centre for European Economic Research Discussion Paper No. 18-053, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3309077 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3309077

Josue Ortega

Center for European Economic Research ( email )

L 7 1
Mannheim, 68161

HOME PAGE: http://www.josueortega.com

Maria Kyropoulou (Contact Author)

University of Essex - Centre for Computational Finance and Economic Agents ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

Erel Segal-Halevi

Ariel University ( email )


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