Obvious Manipulations in Cake-Cutting

19 Pages Posted: 16 Dec 2019

See all articles by Josué Ortega

Josué Ortega

Queen’s Management School, Queen’s University Belfast

Erel Segal-Halevi

Ariel University - Department of Computer Science

Date Written: 2019


In cake-cutting, strategy-proofness is a very costly requirement in terms of fairness: for n = 2 it implies a dictatorial allocation, whereas for n≥3 it requires that one agent receives no cake. We show that a weaker version of this property recently suggested by Troyan and Morril, called not-obvious manipulability, is compatible with the strong fairness property of proportionality, which guarantees that each agent receives 1/n of the cake. Both properties are satisfied by the leftmost leaves mechanism, an adaptation of the Dubins - Spanier moving knife procedure. Most other classical proportional mechanisms in literature are obviously manipulable, including the original moving knife mechanism. Not-obvious manipulability explains why leftmost leaves is manipulated less often in practice than other proportional mechanisms.

Keywords: cake-cutting, not-obvious manipulability, prior-free mechanism design

JEL Classification: D63, D82

Suggested Citation

Ortega, Josué and Segal-Halevi, Erel, Obvious Manipulations in Cake-Cutting (2019). ZEW - Centre for European Economic Research Discussion Paper No. 19-056, QMS Research Paper 2020/04, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3504487 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3504487

Josué Ortega (Contact Author)

Queen’s Management School, Queen’s University Belfast ( email )

185 Stranmillis Road, Riddel Hall
Belfast, BT9 5EE
United Kingdom

Erel Segal-Halevi

Ariel University - Department of Computer Science ( email )


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