Fair and Efficient Resource Allocation with Externalities

by   Shaily Mishra, et al.

In resource allocation, it is common to assume that agents have a utility for their allocated items and zero utility for unallocated ones. We refer to such valuation domain as 1-D. This assumption of zero utility for unallocated items is not always valid. For example, in the pandemic, allocation of ventilators, oxygen beds, and critical medical help yields dis-utility to an agent when not received in time, i.e., a setting where people consume resources at the cost of others' utility. Various externalities affect an agent's utility, i.e., when an agent doesn't receive an item, it can result in their gain (positive externalities) or loss (negative externalities). The existing preference models lack capturing the setting with these externalities. We conduct a study on a 2-D domain, where each agent has a utility (v) for an item assigned to it and utility (v') for an item not allocated to it. We consider a generalized model, i.e., goods and chores. There is a vast literature to allocate fairly and efficiently. We observe that adapting the existing notions of fairness and efficiency to the 2-D domain is non-trivial. We propose a utility transformation (T_u) and valuation transformation (T_v) to convert from the 2-D domain to 1-D. We study the retention of fairness and efficiency property given this transformation, i.e., an allocation with property 𝒫 in a 1-D domain also satisfies property 𝒫 in 2-D, and vice versa. If a property is retainable, we can apply the transformation, and all the existing approaches are valid for the 2-D domain. Further, we study whether we can apply current results in a 2-D domain when they do not retain. We explore fairness notions such as Envy-freeness (EF), Equitability (EQ), Maxmin Share (MMS), and Proportionality and efficiency notions such as Pareto Optimality, Utilitarian Welfare, Nash Welfare, and Egalitarian Welfare.


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