Quantifying Inefficiency of Fair Cost-Sharing Mechanisms for Sharing Economy

Chi Kin Chau, Khaled Elbassioni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Sharing economy is a distributed peer-to-peer economic paradigm, which gives rise to a variety of social interactions for economic purposes. One fundamental distributed decision-making process is coalition formation for sharing certain replaceable resources collaboratively, for example, sharing hotel rooms among travelers, sharing taxi-rides among passengers, and sharing regular passes among users. Motivated by the applications of sharing economy, this paper studies a coalition formation game subject to the capacity of K participants per coalition. The participants in each coalition are supposed to split the associated cost according to a given cost-sharing mechanism. A stable coalition structure is established when no group of participants can opt out to form another coalition that leads to lower individual payments. We quantify the inefficiency of distributed decision-making processes under a cost-sharing mechanism by the strong price of anarchy (SPoA), comparing a worst-case stable coalition structure and a social optimum. In particular, we derive the SPoA for common fair cost-sharing mechanisms (e.g., equal-split, proportional-split, egalitarian and Nash bargaining solutions of bargaining games, and usage-based cost sharing). We show that the SPoA for equal-split, proportional-split, and usage-based cost sharing (under certain conditions) is Θ (log K), whereas the one for egalitarian and Nash bargaining solutions is O(√K log K). Therefore, distributed decision-making processes under common fair cost-sharing mechanisms induce only moderate inefficiency.

Original languageBritish English
Article number8068990
Pages (from-to)1809-1818
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Control of Network Systems
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2018


  • Coalition formation
  • fair cost-sharing mechanisms
  • sharing economy
  • social and economic networks


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