Incentives and coordination in bottleneck models

Moshe Babaioff, Sigal Oren

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


We study a variant of Vickrey’s classic bottleneck model. In our model there are n agents and each agent strategically chooses when to join a first-come-first-served observable queue. Agents dislike standing in line and they take actions in discrete time steps: we assume that each agent has a cost of 1 for every time step he waits before joining the queue and a cost of > for every time step he waits in the queue. At each time step a single agent can be processed. Before each time step, every agent observes the queue and strategically decides whether or not to join, with the goal of minimizing his expected cost. In this paper we focus on symmetric strategies which are arguably more natural as they require less coordination. This brings up the following twist to the usual price of anarchy question: what is the main source for the inefficiency of symmetric equilibria? is it the players’ strategic behavior or the lack of coordination? We present results for two different parameter regimes that are qualitatively very different: (i) when w is fixed and n grows, we prove a tight bound of 2 and show that the entire loss is due to the players’ selfish behavior (ii) when n is fixed and w grows, we prove a tight bound of (formula presented) and show that it is mainly due to lack of coordination: the same order of magnitude of loss is suffered by any symmetric profile.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWeb and Internet Economics - 14th International Conference, WINE 2018, Proceedings
EditorsTobias Harks, George Christodoulou
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9783030046118
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2018
Event14th International Conference on Web and Internet Economics, WINE 2018 - Oxford, United Kingdom
Duration: 15 Dec 201817 Dec 2018

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume11316 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference14th International Conference on Web and Internet Economics, WINE 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science (all)


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