The Limits of Multi-task Peer Prediction

Shuran Zheng, Fang-Yi Yu, Yiling Chen

Recent advances in multi-task peer prediction have greatly expanded our knowledge about the power of multi-task peer prediction mechanisms. Various mechanisms have been proposed in different settings to elicit different types of information. But we still lack understanding about when desirable mechanisms will exist for a multi-task peer prediction problem. In this work, we study the elicitability of multi-task peer prediction problems. We consider a designer who has certain knowledge about the underlying information structure and wants to elicit certain information from a group of participants. Our goal is to infer the possibility of having a desirable mechanism based on the primitives of the problem. Our contribution is twofold. First, we provide a characterization of the elicitable multi-task peer prediction problems, assuming that the designer only uses scoring mechanisms. Scoring mechanisms are the mechanisms that reward participants' reports for different tasks separately. The characterization uses a geometric approach based on the power diagram characterization in the single-task setting ([Lambert and Shoham, 2009, Frongillo and Witkowski, 2017]). For general mechanisms, we also give a necessary condition for a multi-task problem to be elicitable. Second, we consider the case when the designer aims to elicit some properties that are linear in the participant's posterior about the state of the world. We first show that in some cases, the designer basically can only elicit the posterior itself. We then look into the case when the designer aims to elicit the participants' posteriors. We give a necessary condition for the posterior to be elicitable. This condition implies that the mechanisms proposed by Kong and Schoenebeck are already the best we can hope for in their setting, in the sense that their mechanisms can solve any problem instance that can possibly be elicitable.

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