In designing dynamic shared service systems that incentivize customers to opt for shared rather than exclusive service, the traditional notion of individual rationality may be insufficient, as a customer's estimated utility could fluctuate arbitrarily during their time in the shared system, as long as their realized utility at service completion is not worse than that for exclusive service. In this work, within a model that explicitly considers the "inconvenience costs" incurred by customers due to sharing, we introduce the notion of sequential individual rationality (SIR) that requires that the disutility of existing customers is nonincreasing as the system state changes due to new customer arrivals. Next, under SIR, we observe that cost sharing can also be viewed as benefit sharing, which inspires a natural definition of sequential fairness (SF) - the total incremental benefit due to a new customer is shared among existing customers in proportion to the incremental inconvenience suffered. We demonstrate the effectiveness of these notions by applying them to a ridesharing system, where unexpected detours to pick up subsequent passengers inconvenience the existing passengers. Imposing SIR and SF reveals interesting and surprising results, including: (a) natural limits on the incremental detours permissible, (b) exact characterization of "SIR-feasible" routes, which boast sublinear upper and lower bounds on the fractional detours, (c) exact characterization of sequentially fair cost sharing schemes, which includes a strong requirement that passengers must compensate each other for the detour inconveniences that they cause, and (d) new algorithmic problems related to and motivated by SIR.
- Pub Date:
- July 2016
- Computer Science - Computer Science and Game Theory;
- Computer Science - Computational Complexity;
- Computer Science - Data Structures and Algorithms
- Presented as a poster at EC 2016. Presented as an invited talk (sponsored session) at INFORMS Annual Meeting 2016. Presented at MSOM Service Operations SIG 2017. Currently under review at Management Science