Delegating to Multiple Agents

MohammadTaghi HajiAghayi, Keivan Rezaei, Suho Shin

We consider a multi-agent delegation mechanism without money. In our model, given a set of agents, each agent has a fixed number of solutions which is exogenous to the mechanism, and privately sends a signal, e.g., a subset of solutions, to the principal. Then, the principal selects a final solution based on the agents' signals. In stark contrast to single-agent setting by Kleinberg and Kleinberg (EC'18) with an approximate Bayesian mechanism, we show that there exists efficient approximate prior-independent mechanisms with both information and performance gain, thanks to the competitive tension between the agents. Interestingly, however, the amount of such a compelling power significantly varies with respect to the information available to the agents, and the degree of correlation between the principal's and the agent's utility. Technically, we conduct a comprehensive study on the multi-agent delegation problem and derive several results on the approximation factors of Bayesian/prior-independent mechanisms in complete/incomplete information settings. As a special case of independent interest, we obtain comparative statics regarding the number of agents which implies the dominance of the multi-agent setting ($n \ge 2$) over the single-agent setting ($n=1$) in terms of the principal's utility. We further extend our problem by considering an examination cost of the mechanism and derive some analogous results in the complete information setting.

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