Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems

, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 534–567 | Cite as

Investigating the characteristics of one-sided matching mechanisms under various preferences and risk attitudes

  • Hadi HosseiniEmail author
  • Kate Larson
  • Robin Cohen


One-sided matching mechanisms are fundamental for assigning a set of indivisible objects to a set of self-interested agents when monetary transfers are not allowed. Two widely-studied randomized mechanisms in multiagent settings are the Random Serial Dictatorship (RSD) and the Probabilistic Serial Rule (PS). Both mechanisms require only that agents specify ordinal preferences and have a number of desirable economic and computational properties. However, the induced outcomes of the mechanisms are often incomparable and thus there are challenges when it comes to deciding which mechanism to adopt in practice. In this paper, we first consider the space of general ordinal preferences and provide empirical results on the (in)comparability of RSD and PS. We analyze their respective economic properties under general and lexicographic preferences. We then instantiate utility functions with the goal of gaining insights on the manipulability, efficiency, and envyfreeness of the mechanisms under different risk-attitude models. Our results hold under various preference distribution models, which further confirm the broad use of RSD in most practical applications.


One-sided matching Random Serial Dictatorship Probabilistic Serial Rule Strategyproofness Social welfare Fairness Risky attitudes 



We are grateful for the valuable feedback we received from the anonymous reviewers. This work was partially supported by NSERC.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceRochester Institute of TechnologyRochesterUSA
  2. 2.Cheriton School of Computer ScienceUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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