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Filling a multicolor urn: an axiomatic analysis

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  • Moulin, Herve
  • Stong, Richard

Abstract

We study the probabilistic distribution of identical successive units. We represent the allocation process as the filling of an urn with balls of different colors (one color per agent). Applications include the scheduling of homogeneous tasks among workers and allocating new workers between divisions. The fixed chances methods allocate each unit independently of the current distribution of shares. The Polya-Eggenberger methods place in an urn a fixed number of balls and draw from the urn with replacement of two balls of the color drawn. These two families of urn-filling methods emerge uniquely from our axiomatic discussion involving: a version of the familiar Consistency property; Share Monotonicity (my probability of receiving the next ball is non-decreasing in my current share); Independence of Transfers (transferring balls across agents is not profitable), and Order Independence (a sequence of successive allocations is as likely as any permuted sequence). We also explore the impact of Share Monotinicity (my probability of receiving the next ball is non-increasing in my current share), leading to an equalization of individual shares along a fixed standard of comparison.
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Suggested Citation

  • Moulin, Herve & Stong, Richard, 2003. "Filling a multicolor urn: an axiomatic analysis," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 242-269, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:45:y:2003:i:1:p:242-269
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hervé Moulin, 2002. "The proportional random allocation of indivisible units," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 19(2), pages 381-413.
    2. Thomson, William, 2003. "Axiomatic and game-theoretic analysis of bankruptcy and taxation problems: a survey," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 249-297, July.
    3. Young, H. P., 1988. "Distributive justice in taxation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 321-335, April.
    4. Sprumont, Yves, 1991. "The Division Problem with Single-Peaked Preferences: A Characterization of the Uniform Allocation Rule," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(2), pages 509-519, March.
    5. M. Angeles de Frutos, 1999. "Coalitional manipulations in a bankruptcy problem," Review of Economic Design, Springer;Society for Economic Design, vol. 4(3), pages 255-272.
    6. Hervé Moulin & Richard Stong, 2002. "Fair Queuing and Other Probabilistic Allocation Methods," Mathematics of Operations Research, INFORMS, vol. 27(1), pages 1-30, February.
    7. Hervé Moulin, 2000. "Priority Rules and Other Asymmetric Rationing Methods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(3), pages 643-684, May.
    8. Moulin, Herve, 1994. "Social choice," Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications,in: R.J. Aumann & S. Hart (ed.), Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 31, pages 1091-1125 Elsevier.
    9. Aumann, Robert J. & Maschler, Michael, 1985. "Game theoretic analysis of a bankruptcy problem from the Talmud," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 195-213, August.
    10. O'Neill, Barry, 1982. "A problem of rights arbitration from the Talmud," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 345-371, June.
    11. Herrero, Carmen & Maschler, Michael & Villar, Antonio, 1999. "Individual rights and collective responsibility: the rights-egalitarian solution," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 59-77, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Thomson, William, 2015. "Axiomatic and game-theoretic analysis of bankruptcy and taxation problems: An update," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 41-59.
    2. Moulin, Hervé, 2008. "Proportional scheduling, split-proofness, and merge-proofness," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 567-587, July.
    3. Chambers, Christopher P., 2004. "Consistency in the probabilistic assignment model," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(8), pages 953-962, December.

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    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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