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Profit Sharing and Efficiency in Utility Games

Sreenivas Gollapudi
Debmalya Panigrahi
Venetia Pliatsika
ESA (2017)
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We study utility games (Vetta, FOCS 2002) where a set of players join teams to produce social utility, and receive individual utility in the form of payments in return. These games have many natural applications in competitive settings such as labor markets, crowdsourcing, etc. The efficiency of such a game depends on the profit sharing mechanism -- the rule that maps utility produced by the players to their individual payments. We study three natural and widely used profit sharing mechanisms -- egalitarian or equal sharing, marginal gain or value addition when a player joins, and marginal loss or value depletion when a player leaves. For these settings, we give tight bounds on the price of anarchy, thereby allowing comparison between these popular mechanisms from a (worst case) social welfare perspective.