Approximately Envy-Free Budget-Feasible Allocation

by   Jiarui Gan, et al.

In the budget-feasible allocation problem, a set of items with varied sizes and values are to be allocated to a group of agents. Each agent has a budget constraint on the total size of items she can receive. The goal is to compute a feasible allocation that is envy-free (EF), in which the agents do not envy each other for the items they receive, nor do they envy a charity, who is endowed with all the unallocated items. Since EF allocations barely exist even without budget constraints, we are interested in the relaxed notion of envy-freeness up to one item (EF1). The computation of both exact and approximate EF1 allocations remains largely open, despite a recent effort by Wu et al. (IJCAI 2021) in showing that any budget-feasible allocation that maximizes the Nash Social Welfare (NSW) is 1/4-approximate EF1. In this paper, we move one step forward by showing that for agents with identical additive valuations, a 1/2-approximate EF1 allocation can be computed in polynomial time. For the uniform-budget and two-agent cases, we propose efficient algorithms for computing an exact EF1 allocation. We also consider the large budget setting, i.e., when the item sizes are infinitesimal compared with the agents' budgets, and show that both the NSW maximizing allocation and the allocation our polynomial-time algorithm computes have an approximation close to 1 regarding EF1.


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