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Combinatorial Civic Crowdfunding with Budgeted Agents: Welfare Optimality at Equilibrium and Optimal Deviation

by   Sankarshan Damle, et al.

Civic Crowdfunding (CC) uses the “power of the crowd” to garner contributions towards public projects. As these projects are non-excludable, agents may prefer to “free-ride,” resulting in the project not being funded. For single project CC, researchers propose to provide refunds to incentivize agents to contribute, thereby guaranteeing the project's funding. These funding guarantees are applicable only when agents have an unlimited budget. This work focuses on a combinatorial setting, where multiple projects are available for CC and agents have a limited budget. We study certain specific conditions where funding can be guaranteed. Further, funding the optimal social welfare subset of projects is desirable when every available project cannot be funded due to budget restrictions. We prove the impossibility of achieving optimal welfare at equilibrium for any monotone refund scheme. We then study different heuristics that the agents can use to contribute to the projects in practice. Through simulations, we demonstrate the heuristics' performance as the average-case trade-off between welfare obtained and agent utility.


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