Monotonicity in Bargaining Networks

  • Nikhil Devanur ,
  • Nikhil R Devanur ,
  • Yossi Azar ,
  • Kamal Jain ,
  • Yuval Rabani

We study bargaining networks, discussed in a recent paper of Kleinberg and Tardos, from the perspective of cooperative game theory. In particular we examine three solution concepts, the nucleolus, the core center and the core median. All solution concepts define unique solutions, so they provide testable predictions. We define a new monotonicity property that is a natural axiom of any bargaining game solution, and we prove that all three of them satisfy this monotonicity property. This is actually in contrast to the conventional wisdom for general cooperative games that monotonicity and the core condition (which is a basic property that all three of them satisfy) are incompatible with each other. Our proofs are based on a primal-dual argument (for the nucleolus) and on the FKG inequality (for the core center and the core median). We further observe some qualitative differences between the solution concepts. In particular, there are cases where a strict version of our monotonicity property is a natural axiom, but only the core center and the core median satisfy it. On the other hand, the nucleolus is easy to compute, whereas computing the core center or the core median is #P-hard (yet it can be approximated in polynomial time).