Date of Submission


Date of Award


Institute Name (Publisher)

Indian Statistical Institute

Document Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Subject Name

Quantitative Economics


Economic Research Unit (ERU-Kolkata)


Mitra, Manipushpak (ERU-Kolkata; ISI)

Abstract (Summary of the Work)

Collective decision making is an important social issue, since it depends on individual preferences that are not publicly observable. Therefore, the question is, whether it is possible to elicit the private information available to individuals and then how to extract the private information in various strategic environment; Mechanism design deals with these questions. The difference between game theory and mechanism design is that, the former tries to predict the outcome of a strategic environment in some “equilibrium” but the latter tries to design or restrict the environment in such a way that the desired objective is attained, that is, the equilibrium outcome of that designed environment coincides with the objective of the designer. Note that, the message provided by the interacting agents may be quite abstract in nature but due to the famous revelation principle we restrict our attention to direct mechanism only. In general, mechanism may or may not involve monetary payment to incentivize agents to reveal their private information. The voting environment is an example where monetary payment is not involved while designing a mechanism. A celebrated result in this environment is due to Gibbard (1973) and Satterthwaite (1975) where they show that the only unanimous and strategy-proof voting rule is dictatorial if there are at least three candidates or alternatives and the domain of preference is unrestricted. But if the domain of preference is quasi-linear then designing a mechanism involving money leads to positive outcome particularly in case of dominant strategy implementation. A few popular results in quasi-linear utility environment are due to Vickrey (1961), Clarke (1971) and Groves (1973) where the main course of discussion is the harmony of outcome efficient allocation along with dominant strategy implementation. Substantial part of this thesis deviates from outcome efficient allocation and resorts to other notions of allocation. While the essay in Chapter 2 finds the implication of Rawls allocation, the essays in Chapter 3 and Chapter 4 deal with budget balanced affine cost minimizer rules and egalitarian allocation rules respectively. The notion of implementation used in all the three essays of this thesis is mainly strategy-proofness or dominant strategy incentive compatibility. All the essays in this thesis are restricted to sequencing problem. There are vast amount of mechanism design literatures that address many important issues in this framework. Starting with Dolan (1978) this literature got enriched with the contribution of Suijs (1996), Mitra (2001), Mitra (2002), Hain and Mitra (2004) and many others. The general features of a sequencing problem are as follows: (1) There are n agents and a single server, (2) the server can provide services of non-identical processing length but can process only one particular service at a time. (3) Jobs may not be identical across agents, so their processing time may differ; we assume the processing time is common knowledge. (4) Waiting for the service is costly, monetary transfers are given to the agent to compensate them. (5) Agents have quasi-linear preferences over the positions in queue and monetary transfers. A real life example of a sequencing problem was given by Suijs (1996). He considered a large firm that has several divisions that need to have service facility provided by the maintenance and repairing unit of the firm.


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