University of Twente Student Theses


Mechanisms for socially sustainable public task allocation

Groenestein, Michiel (2018) Mechanisms for socially sustainable public task allocation.

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Abstract:The Dutch government expressed its desire to transform the welfare state into a participation society. An adjusted policy concerning this desire is that municipalities are required to see to, and pay for ambulatory care for those who need it. This instigated the idea in Vasse, a village in the province of Overijssel, to develop a platform to support and facilitate the community to perform public tasks. Currently, the local government spends tax money to have public tasks performed by professional companies. The local community members may very well be able to perform these tasks themselves, is the reasoning. These tasks are generally too large to be taken care of by individuals and the platform should help them to split large tasks into smaller ones and divide them amongst those who are willing to perform them. In this study, we look into mechanisms for this platform to make the project fair, beneficial and durable. We start with determination of a pricing mechanism and conclude that combinatorial auction mechanisms give participants the opportunity to express preference for task bundles and thereby allow for efficiency benefits with tasks from different domains. The auction mechanism is augmented with a Vickrey-Clarke-Groves-payment (VCG) mechanism, which is incentive compatible. However, the VCG mechanism requires undesirably many valuations from participating bidders and may lead to an NP-hard problem. To achieve close-to-optimal solutions and prevent complete-valuation requirements, we propose additional mechanisms. Restricting bundle possibilities requires less valuations, but also restricts the possibilities for bidders to fully express their bundle preferences. The use of demand oracles is promising, but requires a large pool of participating bidders to be able to develop reliable and accurate oracles. Preference elicitation algorithms should be able to not only prevent complete evaluation requirements, but also aid in achieving complete solutions. Furthermore, the Vasse council expressed its desire to have a blockchain technology implementation for record keeping and providing trust. We propose a private blockchain network where contract hashes are stored so that its contents are not publicly accessible, but its existence is publicly known. This way, both privacy requirements and reliability requirements are met. The design is currently not feasible due to the small scale in the early stage of the project. Also, current legislation concerning liability and the employment of individuals poses difficulties in the realisation of the project.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:83 economics, 88 social and public administration
Programme:Industrial Engineering and Management MSc (60029)
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