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Mechanisms with Referrals: VCG Mechanisms and Multilevel Mechanisms

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  • Joosung Lee

    (Business School, University of Edinburgh)

Abstract

We study mechanisms for environments in which only some of the agents are directly connected to a mechanism designer and the other agents can participate in a mechanism only through the connected agents' referrals. In such environments, the mechanism designer and agents may have different interest in varying participants so that agents strategically manipulate their preference as well as their network connection to avoid competition or congestion; while the mechanism designer wants to elicit the agents' private information about both preferences and network connections. As a benchmark for an efficient mechanism, we re-define a VCG mechanism. It is incentive compatible and individually rational, but it generically runs a deficit as it requires too much compensation for referrals. Alternatively as a budget-surplus mechanism, we introduce a multilevel mechanism, in which each agent is compensated by the agents who would not be able to participate without her referrals. Under a multilevel mechanism, we show that fully referring one's acquaintances is a dominant strategy and agents have no incentive to under-report their preference if the social welfare is submodular.

Suggested Citation

  • Joosung Lee, 2017. "Mechanisms with Referrals: VCG Mechanisms and Multilevel Mechanisms," Working Papers 2017.27, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  • Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2017.27
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Mechanism Design; Referral Program; Reward Scheme; VCG Mechanism; Multilevel Mechanism; Incentive Compatibility; Budget Feasibility;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games

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