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Fair and Efficient Assignment via the Probabilistic Serial Mechanism

Onur Kesten, Morimitsu Kurino and Utku Unver
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Onur Kesten: Carnegie Mellon University
Morimitsu Kurino: Maastricht University

No 742, Boston College Working Papers in Economics from Boston College Department of Economics

Abstract: This paper studies the problem of assigning a set of indivisible objects to a set of agents when monetary transfers are not allowed. We offer two characterizations of the prominent lottery assignment mechanism called the probabilistic serial. We show that it is the only mechanism satisfying non-wastefulness and ordinal fairness. Our second result shows that a direct ordinal mechanism satisfies ordinal efficiency, envy-freeness, and upper invariance if and only if it is the probabilistic serial.

Keywords: Random assignment; Probabilistic serial; Ordinal efficiency; Fairness (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C71 C78 D71 D78 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2010-07-27, Revised 2011-05-30
Note: previously circulated as "The Probabilistic Serial Assignment Mechanism"
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