Sequential Sharing Rules for River Sharing Problems

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Working paper
Erik Ansink and Hans-Peter Weikard
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We analyse the redistribution of a resource among agents who have claims to the resource and who are ordered linearly. A well known example of this particular situation is the river sharing problem. We exploit the linear order of agents to transform the river sharing problem to a sequence of two-agent river sharing problems. These reduced problems are mathematically equivalent to bankruptcy problems and can therefore be solved using any bankruptcy rule. Our proposed class of solutions, that we call sequential sharing rules, solves the river sharing problem. Our approach extends the bankruptcy literature to settings with a sequential structure of both the agents and the resource to be shared. In the paper, we first characterise a class of sequential sharing rules. Subsequently, we apply sequential sharing rules based on four classical bankruptcy rules, assess their properties, and compare them to four alternative solutions to the river sharing problem.
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