About the Laboratory
Laboratory's mission is to make St. Petersburg one of the global centers of game theory and mechanism design research.
Both of these areas have been significantly transformed over the past decade. Complexity of the practical implementation of mechanisms and complexity of the optimal behaviour of agents have become one of the main issues. This led to the birth of two rapidly developing fields: algorithmic game theory and computational social choice. They were rather weakly represented in Russia, and the goal of the laboratory is to fill this gap by combining the efforts of specialists in mechanism design, cooperative and strategic games, mathematics, theoretical computer science and behavioural economics.
Main areas of the research:
• Design of efficient and fair economic mechanisms with applications to resource allocation and matching problems. Investigation of their algorithmic properties.
• Analysis of agents' strategic behaviour and of mechanisms resistant to strategic manipulations.
• Modelling the impact of bounded rationality on strategic decision making. Investigation of dynamic interactions with agents having limited cognitive abilities and/or incomplete information; application to study of macroeconomic dynamics.
• Testing the applicability of the models using methods of behavioral economics.
Autumn School on Computational Social Choice and Fair Division. October, 2016
Game theory allows us to understand how differences in preferences give rise to a variety of social and economic phenomena around us. In particular, why some institutions work well and others not so well? Mechanism design, in turn, shows how to make them work better. It has been successfully applied to a variety of problems: the design of online auctions, pricing tickets for sports events, procedures for allocating donor organs among patients, allocating of newly graduated doctors to hospitals, law practice in the property disputes, allocation of tasks and resources (e.g. offices or promotions) in an organization, peer-grading in online courses (MOOC), and splitting the rent between several tenants. This list is not exhaustive: actually, every interaction of a group of agents (individuals, firms, state) can be examined and optimized from this point of view.
The scientific activity of the laboratory contributes to HSE’s brand recognition in the academic community, as well as to the promotion of research in the field of theoretical economics among students of HSE and young researchers. Laboratory staff, including supervisors, teach courses for undergraduate and graduate students and participate in the development of new courses on game theory, microeconomics, and mechanism design. HSE students participate in conferences and schools, organized by the Laboratory, and have an opportunity to begin their research career under guidance of leading games theorists.
Laboratory research is concentrated at the intersection of game theory, mechanism design, theoretical computer science and behavioral economics. The relevance of this field has risen greatly in recent years: the implementation of the theoretical works in practice has revealed a number of problems and has brought up many open questions that laboratory plans to find the answers for.
The results of the Lab
Fair division of bads (e.g. shifts between substitutable workers, or assets involving joint debts and loans, or budget reductions between sectors of an economy) was considered for the first time, and it was found that this problem significantly differs from the fair division of goods. Competitive mechanisms for distribution of a mix of both goods and bads were proposed, and their properties were studied. A new mechanism combining the advantages of the known mechanisms for allocation of students among schools was constructed. The influence of bounded rationality and asymmetric information on agents' behavior in a dynamic perspective was analyzed.
During the period of 2015-2016 28 publications and preprints were prepared since 2015. The laboratory has organized a series of workshops, summer school and international conference.
The laboratory collaborates with Russian institutes (Faculty of Mathematics and Mechanics, Faculty of Applied Mathematics and Control Processes in St. Petersburg State University, Faculty of Computational Mathematics and Cybernetics of the Moscow State University, Karelian Institute of Applied Mathematical Research RAS) and foreign ones - Hebrew University of Jerusalem, LAMSADE (Université Paris Dauphine), Adam Smith Business School (University of Glasgow), University of Latvia and others. The laboratory organizes conferences and summer schools, gathering students and researchers from around the world.
Moreover, the lab is involved in the expertise projects commissioned by the Federal Antitrust Service of the Leningrad region.
International Conference "Game Theory and Mechanism Design" in memory of Victor Domanskiy. May, 2016
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