Top Trading with Fixed Tie-Breaking in Markets with Indivisible Goods
We study markets with indivisible goods where monetary compensations are not possible. Each individual is endowed with an object and a preference relation over all objects. When preferences are strict, Gale's top trading cycle algorithm finds the unique core allocation. When preferences are not necessarily strict, we use an exogenous profile of tie-breakers to resolve any ties in individuals' preferences and apply Gale's top trading cycle algorithm for the resulting profile of strict preferences. We provide a foundation of these simple extensions of Gale's top trading cycle algorithm from strict preferences to weak preferences. We show that Gale's top trading cycle algorithm with fixed tie-breaking is characterized by individual rationality, strategy-proofness, weak efficiency, non-bossiness, and consistency. Our result supports the common practice in applications to break ties in weak preferences using some fixed exogenous criteria and then to use a “good and simple” rule for the resulting strict preferences. This reinforces the market-based approach even in the presence of indifferences because always competitive allocations are chosen.
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