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Title: On Multi-Dimensional Gains from Trade Maximization
We study gains from trade in multi-dimensional two-sided markets. Specifically, we focus on a setting with n heterogeneous items, where each item is owned by a different seller i, and there is a constrained-additive buyer with feasibility constraint ℱ. Multi-dimensional settings in one-sided markets, e.g. where a seller owns multiple heterogeneous items but also is the mechanism designer, are well-understood. In addition, single-dimensional settings in two-sided markets, e.g. where a buyer and seller each seek or own a single item, are also well-understood. Multi-dimensional two-sided markets, however, encapsulate the major challenges of both lines of work: optimizing the sale of heterogeneous items, ensuring incentive-compatibility among both sides of the market, and enforcing budget balance. We present, to the best of our knowledge, the first worst-case approximation guarantee for gains from trade in a multi-dimensional two-sided market. Our first result provides an O(log(1/r))-approximation to the first-best gains from trade for a broad class of downward-closed feasibility constraints (such as matroid, matching, knapsack, or the intersection of these). Here r is the minimum probability over all items that a buyer's value for the item exceeds the seller's cost. Our second result removes the dependence on r and provides an unconditional O(log n)-approximation to the second-best gains from trade. We extend both results for a general constrained-additive buyer, losing another O(log n)-factor en-route. The first result is achieved using a fixed posted price mechanism, and the analysis involves a novel application of the prophet inequality or a new concentration inequality. Our second result follows from a stitching lemma that allows us to upper bound the second-best gains from trade by the first-best gains from trade from the “likely to trade” items (items with trade probability at least 1/n) and the optimal profit from selling the “unlikely to trade” items. We can obtain an O(log n)-approximation to the first term by invoking our O(log(1/r))-approximation on the “likely to trade” items. We introduce a generalization of the fixed posted price mechanism—seller adjusted posted price—to obtain an O(log n)-approximation to the optimal profit for the “unlikely to trade” items. Unlike fixed posted price mechanisms, not all seller adjusted posted price mechanisms are incentive compatible and budget balanced. We develop a new argument based on “allocation coupling” to show the seller adjusted posted price mechanism used in our approximation is indeed budget balanced and incentive-compatible.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1903037
NSF-PAR ID:
10471409
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
SIAM
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the 2021 ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms (SODA)
Page Range / eLocation ID:
1079–1098
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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