Optimal impartial selection

Fischer, Felix ; Klimm, Max (2015-10-20)


We study a fundamental problem in social choice theory, the selection of a member of a set of agents based on impartial nominations by agents from that set. Studied previously by Alon et al. [Proceedings of TARK, 2011, pp. 101--110] and by Holzman and Moulin [Econometrica, 81 (2013), pp. 173--196], this problem arises when representatives are selected from within a group or when publishing or funding decisions are made based on a process of peer review. Our main result concerns a randomized mechanism that in expectation selects an agent with at least half the maximum number of nominations. This is best possible subject to impartiality and resolves a conjecture of Alon et al. Further results are given for the case where some agent receives many nominations and the case where each agent casts at least one nomination.