Aslan Fatma receives OTKA postdoctoral grant

Title of project: Complex Collective Decision Problems: 


Theories of allocations deal with the problem of allocating a set of goods (objects) between a set of individuals given the agents’ preferences over the possible outcomes. In most real-life allocation problems, a central planner implements a mechanism by collecting information about the agents’ preferences. Some practical examples are the reallocation of dorm rooms to students by the housing office of a university, the decision of which patients will receive kidneys by the health authorities, and the allocation of teachers to public schools by the ministry of education.  

The problem is how to aggregate agents’ announced preferences to achieve a collective decision (i.e., a final allocation) that respects certain desired criteria. This project investigates allocation problems of purely indivisible goods with complex outcomes where complexity stems from some interdependencies in preferences. 

Although the results are applicable to other settings with similar structures, a natural application this project considers is the (re)assignment problem of teachers to public schools. The interdependencies in individuals’ preferences come from the fact that there is a significant proportion of couples in the population of teachers; each partner cares not only about the “quality” of her new position but also about how far this position is from her partner’s.  

In this project, we aim to (i) design new reallocation mechanisms for public school teachers whose objective is to comply with the couples’ concern about the proximity; (ii) empirically quantify the gains these mechanisms would bring in a real-life teacher assignment setting. 

About the Grant: 

The “OTKA” postdoctoral excellence program (PD_22) granted support to early-stage researchers with doctoral degrees to help them to stay in research and build a career by joining a research group and cooperating with experienced researchers in Hungary for a period of three years. This year, applicants submitted 301 project proposals with a total of HUF 8 billion in request, and 4 projects in Economics have been decided to support.

Robert Somogyi receives OTKA young researcher grant

Robert Somogyi’s OTKA young researcher (FK_22) project is titled ‘Pricing and regulation in the digital economy’. The main goal of this research project is the analysis of pricing practices in the digital world. The Internet is playing an ever more important role in our lives. In this research project, we investigate hidden fees on online price-comparison websites on the one hand, and the social welfare effects of the special market structure of some online platforms on the other hand. The importance of the first topic lies in the fact that many online platforms use hidden fees, which can reduce consumer welfare in the presence of naive consumers. In addition, we find in our preliminary results that the presence of online platforms makes shrouding incentives stronger. Therefore competition authorities worried about hidden fees should be especially worried about the presence of online intermediaries. The importance of the second topic was highlighted for example by the public debate about Facebook switching off news content by Australian news websites for a few days in February 2021. Through a series of research papers, we first aim to understand price-setting in digital markets, and second, we aim to compare different policy interventions to protect consumers when needed in these markets.