Repeated Fair Allocation of Indivisible Items

by   Ayumi Igarashi, et al.

The problem of fairly allocating a set of indivisible items is a well-known challenge in the field of (computational) social choice. In this scenario, there is a fundamental incompatibility between notions of fairness (such as envy-freeness and proportionality) and economic efficiency (such as Pareto-optimality). However, in the real world, items are not always allocated once and for all, but often repeatedly. For example, the items may be recurring chores to distribute in a household. Motivated by this, we initiate the study of the repeated fair division of indivisible goods and chores and propose a formal model for this scenario. In this paper, we show that, if the number of repetitions is a multiple of the number of agents, we can always find (i) a sequence of allocations that is envy-free and complete (in polynomial time), and (ii) a sequence of allocations that is proportional and Pareto-optimal (in exponential time). On the other hand, we show that irrespective of the number of repetitions, an envy-free and Pareto-optimal sequence of allocations may not exist. For the case of two agents, we show that if the number of repetitions is even, it is always possible to find a sequence of allocations that is overall envy-free and Pareto-optimal. We then prove even stronger fairness guarantees, showing that every allocation in such a sequence satisfies some relaxation of envy-freeness.


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