N-Person cake-cutting: there may be no perfect division
A cake is a metaphor for a heterogeneous, divisible good, such as land. A perfect division of cake is efficient (also called Pareto-optimal), envy-free, and equitable. We give an example of a cake in which it is impossible to divide it among three players such that these three properties are satisfied, however many cuts are made. It turns out that two of the three properties can be satisfied by a 3-cut and a 4-cut division, which raises the question of whether the 3-cut division, which is not efficient, or the 4-cut division, which is not envy-free, is more desirable (a 2-cut division can at best satisfy either envy-freeness or equitability but not both). We prove that no perfect division exists for an extension of the example for three or more players.
|Date of creation:||22 Oct 2011|
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- Nurmi, Hannu, 1996. "Fair division: From cake-cutting to dispute resolution : Steven J. Brams and Alan D. Taylor, (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1995) pp. xiv + 272, US$ 54.95 (hardcover), US$ 18.95 (paper)," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 169-172, April.
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- Barbanel, Julius B. & Brams, Steven J., 2011. "Two-person cake-cutting: the optimal number of cuts," MPRA Paper 34263, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Barbanel, Julius B. & Brams, Steven J., 2004. "Cake division with minimal cuts: envy-free procedures for three persons, four persons, and beyond," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 251-269, November.
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