William Thomson


photo

Elmer B. Milliman Professor of Economics
Phone: (585) 275-2236
Email: wth2 at mail.rochester.edu

Highlights:

Research Interests:
Game Theory, Mechanism Design, Theory of Equity

Selected Papers and Publications:

  • "The fair division of a fixed supply among a growing population," Mathematics of Operations Research, 8 (1983), 319-326.
  • "A study of choice correspondences in economies with a variable number of agents," Journal of Economic Theory, 46 (1988), 237-254.
  • Axiomatic Theory of Bargaining With a Variable Population (with T.Lensberg), Cambridge University Press, 1989.
  • "Can everyone benefit from growth? Two difficulties" (with H. Moulin), Journal of Mathematical Economics (1988), 339-345.
  • "No-envy and consistency in economies with indivisible goods" (with K. Tadenuma), Econometrica, 59 (1991) 1755-1767.
  • "Population-monotonic solutions to the problem of fair division when preferences are single-peaked," Economic Theory, 5 (1995), 229-246.
  • A Guide for the Young Economist, 2nd Edition, M.I.T. Press, 2011.
    Book consisting of four pedagogical essays entitled:
    1. "Being a Graduate Student in Economics"
    2. "Writing Papers"
    3. "Giving Talks"
    4. "Writing Referee Reports"

Forthcoming Publications and Recent papers:

  • "Axiomatic and game-theoretic analysis of bankruptcy and taxation problems: an update", Rochester Center for Economic Research Working Paper, last revised 2013.

    Abstract A group of agents have claims on a resource, but there is not enough of it to honor all of the claims. How should it be divided? A group of agents decide to undertake a public project that they can jointly afford. How much should each of them contribute? This essay is an update of Thomson (2003), a survey of the literature devoted to the study of such problems.

    Available in PDF format.
  • "Borrowing-proofness", Rochester Center for Economic Research Working Paper, last revised 2013.

    Abstract

    We formulate and study the requirement on an allocation rule that no agent should be able to benefit by augmenting his endowment through borrowing resources from the outside world (alternatively, by simply exaggerating it). We show that the Walrasian rule is not "borrowing-proof" even on standard domains. More seriously, no efficient selection from the endowments-lower-bound correspondence, or from the no-envy-in-trades correspondence, or from the egalitarian-equivalent-in-trades correspondence is borrowing-proof. These impossibilities hold even on the domain of economies with homothetic preferences.

    Available in PDF format.

  • "Cost allocation and airport problems", Rochester Center for Economic Research Working Paper, last revised 2013.

    Abstract We consider the problem of dividing the cost of a facility when agents can be ordered in terms of the need they have for it, and accommodating an agent with a certain need allows accommodating all agents with lower needs at no extra cost. This problem is known as the "airport problem", the facility being the runway. We review the literature devoted to its study, and formulate a number of open questions.

    Available in PDF format.


Surveys:

  • "Cooperative models of bargaining," Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications (R. Aumann and S. Hart, eds.), North Holland, 1994, 1237-1284.
  • "Population-monotonic solutions to the problem of fair division when preferences are single-peaked," Economic Theory, 5 (1995), 229-246.
  • "Welfare-domination under preference-replacement: a survey and open questions", Social Choice and Welfare 16 (1999), 373-394.
  • "On the axiomatic method and its recent applications to game theory and resource allocation", Social Choice and Welfare, 18 (2001), 327- 387.
  • "Axiomatic and game-theoretic analysis of bankruptcy and taxation problems: a survey", Mathematical Social Sciences, 45 (2003), 249-297.
  • "Consistency and its converse: an elementary introduction", University of Rochester Rochester Center for Economic Research Working Paper, 2004.
  • "Airport problems and cost allocation", Rochester Center for Economic Research WP, 2013.