Incentive compatibility in kidney exchange problems

  • Silvia VillaEmail author
  • Fioravante Patrone


The problem of kidney exchanges shares common features with the classical problem of exchange of indivisible goods studied in the mechanism design literature, while presenting additional constraints on the size of feasible exchanges. The solution of a kidney exchange problem can be summarized in a mapping from the relevant underlying characteristics of the players (patients and their donors) to the set of matchings. The goal is to select only matchings maximizing a chosen welfare function. Since the final outcome heavily depends on the private information in possess of the players, a basic requirement in order to reach efficiency is the truthful revelation of this information. We show that for the kidney exchange problem, a class of (in principle) efficient mechanisms does not enjoy the incentive compatibility property and therefore is subject to possible manipulations made by the players in order to profit of the misrepresentation of their private information.


Game theory Mechanism design Incentive compatibility Efficient mechanisms Incomplete information Maximum weight matchings Kidney transplantation Kidney exchange 



We thank the Transplant Unit of the “Ospedale S. Martino” in Genova, the Nord Italia Transplant Program and the Italian National Transplant Centre.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di MatematicaUniversità degli Studi di GenovaGenovaItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Ingegneria della Produzione, Termoenergetica e Modelli MatematiciUniversità di GenovaGenovaItaly

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