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Reinterpreting King Solomon's problem: Malice and mechanism design

Brishti Guha ()

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2014, vol. 98, issue C, 125-132

Abstract: I argue for an alternative interpretation of King Solomon's problem in terms of one of the two claimants being “malicious”. A “malicious” claimant places no intrinsic value on the object but derives utility from depriving the rival claimant. This new interpretation permits a simpler solution than those considered in the literature; I derive a mechanism that induces truthful revelation where the equilibrium involves a single round of elimination of weakly dominated strategies, and no monetary transfers. I consider extensions which allow for the malicious claimant to also place some low but positive intrinsic valuation on the object; I also discuss the possibility of two-sided malice, and provide examples of several real-life contexts to which the mechanism or its extensions are applicable.

Keywords: King Solomon's problem; Mechanism design; Malice; Elimination of dominated strategies (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C72 D03 D82 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2013.12.014

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Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization is currently edited by Houser, D. and Puzzello, D.

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