On the Existence of Nash Equilibria in Strategic Search Games
We consider a general multi-agent framework in which a set of n agents are roaming a network where m valuable and sharable goods (resources, services, information ….) are hidden in m different vertices of the network. We analyze several strategic situations that arise in this setting by means of game theory. To do so, we introduce a class of strategic games that we call strategic search games. In those games agents have to select a simple path in the network that starts from a predetermined set of initial vertices. Depending on how the value of the retrieved goods is splitted among the agents, we consider two game types: finders-share in which the agents that find a good split among them the corresponding benefit and firsts-share in which only the agents that first find a good share the corresponding benefit. We show that finders-share games always have pure Nash equilibria (pne ). For obtaining this result, we introduce the notion of Nash-preserving reduction between strategic games. We show that finders-share games are Nash-reducible to single-source network congestion games. This is done through a series of Nash-preserving reductions. For firsts-share games we show the existence of games with and without pne. Furthermore, we identify some graph families in which the firsts-share game has always a pne that is computable in polynomial time.
KeywordsNash Equilibrium Polynomial Time Polynomial Time Algorithm Directed Network Simple Path
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