November 22:  Robert Schmidt  (QSMS Seminar)

 Robert Schmidt (University of Hagen) will be presenting his paper “On the timing of moves in two-player games (co-authored with Leanne Streekstra, Larry Karp, and Leo Simon) on November 22nd at 10 AM, room QA405. One-to-one meetings with the speaker can be arranged; please contact the seminar organizers, Dr. Noémie Cabau (cabau.noemie@gtk.bme.hu) and Dr. Arseniy Samsonov (samsonov.arseniy@gtk.bme.hu).  

Abstract:  We analyze two-player games in continuous time in which each player is free to decide when to move and what action to implement. The number of moves per player is restricted to (at most) one. We arrive at sharp predictions about the equilibrium outcome in certain classes of games, for which we can predict the timing of players’ moves, as well as the identity of the leader in a unique equilibrium outcome with sequential moves. This includes games with a second-mover advantage and non-trivial action sets that are traditionally analyzed in static settings. We illustrate the strength of our general modeling framework by applying it to canonical games from industrial economics and political economics such as price competition, and electoral competition where candidates differ in their “valence”.

Postdoctoral researcher with possibility of tenure as assistant professor (Q22)

The Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences (GTK) of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME) invites applications for two full-time postdoctoral research positions at the Quantitative Social and Management Sciences Research Centre starting in the fall of 2023 at the latest.

Research Fields of interest: Game Theory, Evolutionary Game Theory, Signalling Theory, Reciprocity Theory, Economic Theory, Industrial Organization, Management, Platform Economics, Production Management, Operations Research, Social Choice Theory, Sustainable Development, Energy Economics, Apportionment, Network- and Experimental Economics and other quantitative fields and topics.
Applicants should have a PhD degree before taking up the position. The duration of the postdoctoral positions is three years. During this time, postdocs have the possibility to get involved in the teaching and other activities of the various departments and obtain tenure there: we expect to have 1 or more openings in 2026. We offer favourable conditions regarding research facilities, data access, time devoted to research, travel support, etc. While the position is research only, there will be opportunities to teach at the graduate level.
The Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences is the youngest faculty of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, comprising various departments and study programmes. BME is a widely-acclaimed institute of technology and the world’s oldest technical university celebrating its 240th academic year.

Application Procedure
: Interviews will be conducted virtually 12-15 December 2022. Applications consisting of a motivation letter, CV, 3 referee letters and the job market paper must be submitted online at http://www.econjobmarket.org.
Deadline: The search amongst applicants will start on 15 November 2022 and continues until the positions are filled. For the job market, only applications received no later than 5 December 2022 will be considered.
Further information: Questions, but not applications, can be sent to egervari.zsuzsanna.@gtk.bme.hu.

October 25: Sreoshi Banerjee (QSMS Seminar)

Sreoshi Banerjee (QSMS Research Group, BME)  will be presenting her paper “GENERALIZED WELFARE LOWER BOUNDS AND STRATEGYPROOFNESS IN
SEQUENCING PROBLEMS  on October 25th at 10 AM, room QA405. One-to-one meetings with the speaker can be arranged; please contact the seminar organizers, Dr. Noémie Cabau (cabau.noemie@gtk.bme.hu) and Dr. Arseniy Samsonov (samsonov.arseniy@gtk.bme.hu).  

Abstract:  In an environment with private information, we study the class of sequencing problems with welfare lower bounds. The ‘generalized welfare lower bound’ is a universal representation of some of the specific lower bounds that have been previously studied in the literature. Every agent is offered protection in the form of a minimum guarantee on their utilities. We provide a necessary and sufficient condition to identify an outcome-efficient and strategyproof mechanism that satisfies the generalized welfare lower bound. We then characterize the entire class of mechanisms that satisfy outcome efficiency, strategyproofness, and generalized welfare lower bound. These are termed as ‘relative pivotal mechanisms’. Our paper proposes relevant theoretical applications namely; ex-ante initial order, identical costs bound and expected cost bound. We also give insights on the issues of feasibility and/or budget balance. 

October 18: Ryan Tierney (QSMS Seminar)

Ryan Tierney from the University of Southern Denmark will be presenting his paper “Crowding in School Choice on October 18th at 10 AM, room QA405. One-to-one meetings with the speaker can be arranged; please contact the seminar organizers, Dr. Noémie Cabau (cabau.noemie@gtk.bme.hu) and Dr. Arseniy Samsonov (samsonov.arseniy@gtk.bme.hu).  

Abstract:  We consider the market design problem of matching students to schools in the presence of crowding effects. These effects are salient in parents’ decision making and the empirical literature; however, they cause major difficulties in the design of satisfactory mechanisms and, as such, are not currently considered. We propose a new framework and an equilibrium notion that accommodates crowding, no-envy, and respect for priorities. The equilibrium has a student-optimal element that induces an incentive compatible mechanism and is implementable via a novel algorithm. Moreover, analogs of fundamental structural results of the matching literature—the Rural Hospitals Theorem, welfare lattice, etc.—survive.

October 11: Vivien Surman (QSMS Seminar)

Vivien Surman from BME, Management department, will be presenting her paper “Characterizing clusters of students and supervisors based on an empirical study in the case of project work courses on October 11th at 10 AM, room QA405. One-to-one meetings with the speaker can be arranged; please contact the seminar organizers, Dr. Noémie Cabau (cabau.noemie@gtk.bme.hu) and Dr. Arseniy Samsonov (samsonov.arseniy@gtk.bme.hu).  

Abstract:  The purpose of this research is to describe the different clusters of students completing project work courses and to characterize lecturers acting as supervisors as well. The existence of different student groups setting different requirements against the supervising process has been emerged by supervisor focus group interviews in the improvement process of a service quality framework for project work courses. Cluster analyses based upon data from this service quality framework have proved the presence of three well-definable student groups. At the same time, the specific attributes of the supervisors including age, experience, grade distribution have also been gathered and analysed. The student classification is based on feedbacks of 1500 students. Supervisor characterization results from the analyses of 800 previously finished project work courses. As a result, it could be confirmed that both the students and the supervisors could be classified into well-defined groups in the case of project work courses. Finally, the characteristics of the identified groups of students and that of supervisors have been compared with statistical methods, highlighting connections between the groups. As these project work courses are remarkable cornerstones of total higher education student experience, characterizing the service quality features of the supervision process is vital. On the long run, the successful pairing of student groups with supervisor groups having specific features could be carried out for the sake of successful student accomplishment and for standardizing the supervision process as well. 

October 4: Dov Samet (QSMS Seminar)

Dov Samet from the Coller School of Management at Tel Aviv University will be presenting his paper “Desirability” on October 4th at 10 AM, room QA405. One-to-one meetings with the speaker can be arranged; please contact the seminar organizers, Dr. Noémie Cabau (cabau.noemie@gtk.bme.hu) and Dr. Arseniy Samsonov (samsonov.arseniy@gtk.bme.hu).  

Abstract:  We propose a model of an agent’s probability and utility that is a compromise between Savage (1954) and Jeffrey (1965). In Savage’s model the probability-utility pair is associated with preferences over acts which are assignments of consequences to states. The probability is defined on the state space, and the utility function on consequences. Jeffrey’s model has no consequences, and both probability and utility are defined on the same set of propositions. The probability-utility pair is associated with a desirability relation on propositions. Like Savage we assume a set of consequences and a state space. However, we assume that states are comprehensive, that is, each state describes a consequence, as in Aumann (1987). Like Jeffrey, we assume that the agent has a preference relation, which we call desirability, over events, which by definition involves uncertainty about consequences. For a given probability and utility of consequences, the desirability relation is presented by conditional expected utility, given an event. We axiomatically characterize desirability relations that are represented by a probability-utility pair. We characterize the family of all the probability-utility pairs that represent a given desirability relation.

September 20: Anastas Tenev (QSMS Seminar)

Anastas Tenev from the Institute of Economics at Corvinus University will present his paper “Information Design for Weighted Voting” (co-authored with Toygar T. Kerman) on September 20th at 10 AM, room QA405. One-to-one meetings with the speaker can be arranged; please contact the seminar organizers, Dr. Noémie Cabau (cabau.noemie@gtk.bme.hu) and Dr. Arseniy Samsonov (samsonov.arseniy@gtk.bme.hu).  

Abstract:  We consider a sender who wishes to persuade multiple receivers to vote in favor of a proposal and sends them correlated messages that are conditional on the true state of the world. The receivers share a common prior, wish to implement the outcome that matches the true state, and have homogeneous preferences, but are heterogeneous in their voting weights. Given a weight profile, an optimal signal can be represented by a tractable linear programming problem. We employ insights from cooperative game theory and interpret the voting problem as a simple game to analyze optimal communication for various voting situations. While public communication is optimal under weak, oligarchic, or dictatorial games, the sender can significantly benefit from private communication under symmetric, strong, or non-weak proper games. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first attempt to analyze a weighted voting application of Bayesian persuasion. 

Aslan Fatma receives OTKA postdoctoral grant

Title of project: Complex Collective Decision Problems: 

Summary: 

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. 

https://nkfih.gov.hu/palyazoknak/nkfi-alap/tamogatott-projektek-pd22

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.

https://nkfih.gov.hu/palyazoknak/nkfi-alap/tamogatott-projektek-fk22

30 August: Dhandabani S (QSMS seminar)

The QSMS Research Group (BME) will be hosting two seminars this August 2022. One-to-one meetings with the speakers can be arranged; please contact the seminar organizers, Dr. Noémie Cabau (cabau.noemie@gtk.bme.hu) and Dr. Arseniy Samsonov (samsonov.arseniy@gtk.bme.hu).  

Dhandabani S from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (Decision Engineering Lab, Department of Management Studies) will be presenting his paper Modeling interactions between vertically cooperative and horizontally competitive newsvendor on the 30th of August 2022 at 4PM, Room QA406. 

Abstract:  Consider a market served by both the supplier and the retailer, a typical example of a dual-channel supply chain. Supplier holds a fixed number of perishable inventories and shares them with the retailer for better reach. Also, because of the price matching guarantee, both the parties agree on a uniform retail price for customers, and it is set by the supplier along with the wholesale price. We assume that both the parties are profit-maximising newsvendors, i.e., retailer and supplier are quantity-setting and price-setting newsvendors, respectively. However, given the nature of the setting, their decisions are dependent on each other. As a result, none of them can control the environment solely and both set out to maximise their own profits, which calls for a game-theoretic perspective on the coopetitive (vertically cooperative and horizontally competitive) two-newsvendor setting. We model the interactions between the supplier and retailer as a Stackelberg game, with the supplier being the leader and the retailer being the follower. Given the price[1]sensitive nature of the demand, the retailer estimates her optimal quantity as a function of retail and wholesale prices as a function of the reaction curve. Exploiting the backward induction, the supplier leverages the retailer’s optimal quantity to base its pricing decisions. As the optimal solution becomes intractable for a generic demand uncertainty, focusing only on additive demand uncertainty, we derive sufficient optimality conditions for the supplier’s profit function to be concave with respect to both the retail and wholesale prices. Furthermore, we compute the best feasible set of quantity and price points that satisfy the already established restrictions and assumptions. Finally, extensive sensitivity analysis of the model parameters yields the following several managerial insights, out of which a few novel and counterintuitive are as follows: (i) supplier’s expected profit decreases with the capacity, (ii) the more the variation, supplier’s gain increases whereas retailer’s gain decreases, (iii) with a highly sensitive market, both the parties’ profits decrease, and (iv) retailer’s profit is concave with respect to the market potential.