Keeping Your Friends Close: Land Allocation with Friends

03/07/2020
by   Edith Elkind, et al.
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We examine the problem of assigning plots of land to prospective buyers who prefer living next to their friends. They care not only about the plot they receive, but also about their neighbors. This externality results in a highly non-trivial problem structure, as both friendship and land value play a role in determining agent behavior. We examine mechanisms that guarantee truthful reporting of both land values and friendships. We propose variants of random serial dictatorship (RSD) that can offer both truthfulness and welfare guarantees. Interestingly, our social welfare guarantees are parameterized by the value of friendship: if these values are low, enforcing truthful behavior results in poor welfare guarantees and imposes significant constraints on agents' choices; if they are high, we achieve good approximation to the optimal social welfare.

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