Symmetric Subgame-Perfect Equilibria in Resource Allocation

We analyze symmetric protocols to rationally coordinate on an asymmetric, efficient allocation in an infinitely repeated N-agent, C-resource allocation problems, where the resources are all homogeneous. Bhaskar proposed one way to achieve this in 2-agent, 1-resource games: Agents start by symmetrically randomizing their actions, and as soon as they each choose different actions, they start to follow a potentially asymmetric "convention" that prescribes their actions from then on. We extend the concept of convention to the general case of infinitely repeated resource allocation games with N agents and C resources. We show that for any convention, there exists a symmetric subgame-perfect equilibrium which implements it. We present two conventions: bourgeois, where agents stick to the first allocation; and market, where agents pay for the use of resources, and observe a global coordination signal which allows them to alternate between different allocations. We define price of anonymity of a convention as a ratio between the maximum social payoff of any (asymmetric) strategy profile and the expected social payoff of the subgame-perfect equilibrium which implements the convention. We show that while the price of anonymity of the bourgeois convention is infinite, the market convention decreases this price by reducing the conflict between the agents.

Published in:
Journal Of Artificial Intelligence Research, 49, 323-361
Marina Del Rey, AI Access Foundation

 Record created 2014-04-14, last modified 2018-03-17

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