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Fair and Efficient Assignment via the Probabilistic Serial Mechanism

  • Onur Kesten

    (Carnegie Mellon University)

  • Morimitsu Kurino

    (Maastricht University)

  • M. Utku Ünver

    (Boston College)

This paper studies the problem of assigning a set of indivisible objects to a set of agents when monetary transfers are not allowed. We offer two characterizations of the prominent lottery assignment mechanism called the probabilistic serial. We show that it is the only mechanism satisfying non-wastefulness and ordinal fairness. Our second result shows that a direct ordinal mechanism satisfies ordinal efficiency, envy-freeness, and upper invariance if and only if it is the probabilistic serial.

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Paper provided by Boston College Department of Economics in its series Boston College Working Papers in Economics with number 742.

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Date of creation: 27 Jul 2010
Date of revision: 30 May 2011
Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:742
Note: previously circulated as "The Probabilistic Serial Assignment Mechanism"
Contact details of provider: Postal: Boston College, 140 Commonwealth Avenue, Chestnut Hill MA 02467 USA
Phone: 617-552-3670
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  1. M.Utku Unver, 2003. "Course Bidding at Business Schools," Working Papers 257, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2003.
  2. Abdulkadiroglu, Atila & Sonmez, Tayfun, 1999. "House Allocation with Existing Tenants," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 233-260, October.
  3. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Tayfun Sönmez, 2003. "School Choice: A Mechanism Design Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 729-747, June.
  4. Roth, Alvin E. & Sonmez, Tayfun & Utku Unver, M., 2005. "Pairwise kidney exchange," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 125(2), pages 151-188, December.
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