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Fair division of indivisible items between two people with identical preferences: Envy-freeness, Pareto-optimality, and equity

Author

Listed:
  • Steven J. Brams

    () (Department of Politics, New York University, New York, NY 10003, USA Information Sciences Research, Room C227, AT&T Labs-Research, 180 Park Avenue, Florham Park, NJ 07932, USA)

  • Peter C. Fishburn

    () (Department of Politics, New York University, New York, NY 10003, USA Information Sciences Research, Room C227, AT&T Labs-Research, 180 Park Avenue, Florham Park, NJ 07932, USA)

Abstract

This paper focuses on the fair division of a set of indivisible items between two people when both have the same linear preference order on the items but may have different preferences over subsets of items. Surprisingly, divisions that are envy-free, Pareto-optimal, and ensure that the less well-off person does as well as possible (i.e., are equitable) can often be achieved. Preferences between subsets are assumed to satisfy axioms of qualitative probability without implying the existence of additive utilities, which is treated as a special case. Algorithms that render fair division practicable are proposed, and their vulnerability to strategic manipulation is investigated.

Suggested Citation

  • Steven J. Brams & Peter C. Fishburn, 2000. "Fair division of indivisible items between two people with identical preferences: Envy-freeness, Pareto-optimality, and equity," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 17(2), pages 247-267.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:sochwe:v:17:y:2000:i:2:p:247-267
    Note: Received: 18 May 1998/Accepted: 2 March 1999
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    Cited by:

    1. Nicolò, Antonio & Yu, Yan, 2008. "Strategic divide and choose," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 268-289, September.
    2. Steven J. Brams & D. Marc Kilgour & Christian Klamler, 2017. "Maximin Envy-Free Division of Indivisible Items," Group Decision and Negotiation, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 115-131, January.
    3. Fragnelli, Vito & Marina, Maria Erminia, 2003. "A fair procedure in insurance," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 75-85, August.
    4. Thomson, William, 2011. "Chapter Twenty-One - Fair Allocation Rules," Handbook of Social Choice and Welfare,in: K. J. Arrow & A. K. Sen & K. Suzumura (ed.), Handbook of Social Choice and Welfare, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 21, pages 393-506 Elsevier.
    5. Brams, S. J. & Eldelman, P. H. & Fishburn, P. C., 2000. "Paradoxes of Fair Division," Working Papers 00-13, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
    6. repec:spr:grdene:v:22:y:2013:i:2:d:10.1007_s10726-011-9263-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Edelman, Paul & Fishburn, Peter, 2001. "Fair division of indivisible items among people with similar preferences," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 327-347, May.
    8. Steven Brams & D. Kilgour & Christian Klamler, 2012. "The undercut procedure: an algorithm for the envy-free division of indivisible items," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 39(2), pages 615-631, July.
    9. Dall'Aglio, Marco & Mosca, Raffaele, 2007. "How to allocate hard candies fairly," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 218-237, December.
    10. Eve Ramaekers, 2013. "Fair allocation of indivisible goods: the two-agent case," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 41(2), pages 359-380, July.
    11. Brams,S.L. & Kaplan,T.R., 2002. "Dividing the indivisible : procedures for allocating cabinet ministries to political parties in a parliamentary system," Center for Mathematical Economics Working Papers 340, Center for Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University.
    12. Saralees Nadarajah, 2009. "The Pareto optimality distribution," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 43(6), pages 993-998, November.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions

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