Cost Sharing Public Project with Minimum Release Delay

Mingyu Guo, Diksha Goel, Guanhua Wang, Yong Yang, Muhammad Ali Babar

We study the excludable public project model where the decision is binary (build or not build). In a classic excludable and binary public project model, an agent either consumes the project in its whole or is completely excluded. We study a setting where the mechanism can set different project release time for different agents, in the sense that high-paying agents can consume the project earlier than low-paying agents. The release delay, while hurting the social welfare, is implemented to incentivize payments to cover the project cost. The mechanism design objective is to minimize the maximum release delay and the total release delay among all agents. We first consider the setting where we know the prior distribution of the agents' types. Our objectives are minimizing the expected maximum release delay and the expected total release delay. We propose the single deadline mechanisms. We show that the optimal single deadline mechanism is asymptotically optimal for both objectives, regardless of the prior distribution. For small number of agents, we propose the sequential unanimous mechanisms by extending the largest unanimous mechanisms from [Ohseto 2000]. We propose an automated mechanism design approach via evolutionary computation to optimize within the sequential unanimous mechanisms. We next study prior-free mechanism design. We propose the group-based optimal deadline mechanism and show that it is competitive against an undominated mechanism under minor technical assumptions.

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