Incentive Engineering for Boolean Games

Ulle Endriss, Sarit Kraus, Jérôme Lang, Michael Wooldridge

We investigate the problem of influencing the preferences of players within a Boolean game so that, if all players act rationally, certain desirable outcomes will result. The way in which we influence preferences is by overlaying games with taxation schemes. In a Boolean game, each player has unique control of a set of Boolean variables, and the choices available to the player correspond to the possible assignments that may be made to these variables. Each player also has a goal, represented by a Boolean formula, that they desire to see satisfied. Whether or not a player’s goal is satisfied will depend both on their own choices and on the choices of others, which gives Boolean games their strategic charac- ter. We extend this basic framework by introducing an external principal who is able to levy a taxation scheme on the game, which imposes a cost on every possible action that a player can choose. By designing a taxation scheme appropriately, it is possible to perturb the preferences of the players, so that they are incentivised to choose some equilibrium that would not otherwise be chosen. After motivating and formally presenting our model, we explore some issues surrounding it, including the complexity of finding a taxation scheme that implements some socially desirable outcome, and then discuss desirable properties of taxation schemes.