John W. Pratt

2 Results


Some Neglected Axioms in Fair Division

This paper considers allocation and bargaining problems, and introduces conditions that one might expect fair procedures to satisfy. However, not all conditions one might hope for can be satisfied simultaneously. Furthermore, some apparently plausible and widely proposed axioms and procedures have consequences whose undesirability clearly goes far beyond what can be excused in this way. Thus pitfalls lurk in the field of fair division. Read More

Fair (and Not So Fair) Division

"Fair" could be defined as what people of good will would want to be. This does not constitute an operational definition, however. This paper provides a specific procedure to calculate what could be considered fair and reasonable for various situations that require a fair division. A simple example would be a family that has inherited objects of artistic and/or sentimental value and wants to divide them up fairly while taking into account differences in taste. Laymen, mathematicians, and economists all have their own proposals for creating a fair division. Pratt suggests a procedure that, when put to the test of a range of examples, produces outcomes that accord with our intuitive sense of what is fair and desirable while previously proposed procedures do not. Read More