72 research outputs found

    Composable and Efficient Mechanisms

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    We initiate the study of efficient mechanism design with guaranteed good properties even when players participate in multiple different mechanisms simultaneously or sequentially. We define the class of smooth mechanisms, related to smooth games defined by Roughgarden, that can be thought of as mechanisms that generate approximately market clearing prices. We show that smooth mechanisms result in high quality outcome in equilibrium both in the full information setting and in the Bayesian setting with uncertainty about participants, as well as in learning outcomes. Our main result is to show that such mechanisms compose well: smoothness locally at each mechanism implies efficiency globally. For mechanisms where good performance requires that bidders do not bid above their value, we identify the notion of a weakly smooth mechanism. Weakly smooth mechanisms, such as the Vickrey auction, are approximately efficient under the no-overbidding assumption. Similar to smooth mechanisms, weakly smooth mechanisms behave well in composition, and have high quality outcome in equilibrium (assuming no overbidding) both in the full information setting and in the Bayesian setting, as well as in learning outcomes. In most of the paper we assume participants have quasi-linear valuations. We also extend some of our results to settings where participants have budget constraints

    Incentives and Efficiency in Uncertain Collaborative Environments

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    We consider collaborative systems where users make contributions across multiple available projects and are rewarded for their contributions in individual projects according to a local sharing of the value produced. This serves as a model of online social computing systems such as online Q&A forums and of credit sharing in scientific co-authorship settings. We show that the maximum feasible produced value can be well approximated by simple local sharing rules where users are approximately rewarded in proportion to their marginal contributions and that this holds even under incomplete information about the player's abilities and effort constraints. For natural instances we show almost 95% optimality at equilibrium. When players incur a cost for their effort, we identify a threshold phenomenon: the efficiency is a constant fraction of the optimal when the cost is strictly convex and decreases with the number of players if the cost is linear

    Optimal and Myopic Information Acquisition

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    We consider the problem of optimal dynamic information acquisition from many correlated information sources. Each period, the decision-maker jointly takes an action and allocates a fixed number of observations across the available sources. His payoff depends on the actions taken and on an unknown state. In the canonical setting of jointly normal information sources, we show that the optimal dynamic information acquisition rule proceeds myopically after finitely many periods. If signals are acquired in large blocks each period, then the optimal rule turns out to be myopic from period 1. These results demonstrate the possibility of robust and "simple" optimal information acquisition, and simplify the analysis of dynamic information acquisition in a widely used informational environment
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