One Dollar Each Eliminates Envy

12/05/2019
by   Johannes Brustle, et al.
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We study the fair division of a collection of m indivisible goods amongst a set of n agents. Whilst envy-free allocations typically do not exist in the indivisible goods setting, envy-freeness can be achieved if some amount of a divisible good (money) is introduced. Specifically, Halpern and Shah (SAGT 2019, pp.374-389) showed that, given additive valuation functions where the marginal value of each item is at most one dollar for each agent, there always exists an envy-free allocation requiring a subsidy of at most (n-1)· m dollars. The authors also conjectured that a subsidy of n-1 dollars is sufficient for additive valuations. We prove this conjecture. In fact, a subsidy of at most one dollar per agent is sufficient to guarantee the existence of an envy-free allocation. Further, we prove that for general monotonic valuation functions an envy-free allocation always exists with a subsidy of at most 2(n-1) dollars per agent. In particular, the total subsidy required for monotonic valuations is independent of the number of items.

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