Equitable Allocations of Indivisible Chores

02/24/2020
by   Rupert Freeman, et al.
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We study fair allocation of indivisible chores (i.e., items with non-positive value) among agents with additive valuations. An allocation is deemed fair if it is (approximately) equitable, which means that the disutilities of the agents are (approximately) equal. Our main theoretical contribution is to show that there always exists an allocation that is simultaneously equitable up to one chore (EQ1) and Pareto optimal (PO), and to provide a pseudopolynomial-time algorithm for computing such an allocation. In addition, we observe that the Leximin solution—which is known to satisfy a strong form of approximate equitability in the goods setting—fails to satisfy even EQ1 for chores. It does, however, satisfy a novel fairness notion that we call equitability up to any duplicated chore. Our experiments on synthetic as well as real-world data obtained from the Spliddit website reveal that the algorithms considered in our work satisfy approximate fairness and efficiency properties significantly more often than the algorithm currently deployed on Spliddit.

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