Study Abstract: Fair Division

The subject of fair division deals with situations where a number of people have to divide one or more items among themselves in a way that guarantees everyone gets a "fair share." There are many variations depending on how many people are involved, whether an individual item can be cut up without destroying its value, and even what is meant by a "fair share."

One of the things that makes such problems challenging--and a fact that you should keep in mind--is that each person may place a different value on an item or part of an item. Also, by a "fair share" we will mean that for two people each is entitled to at least half of the total value, for three people each is entitled to at least a third of the total value, etc. In the examples that follow, you will be one of the participants and the computer will play the part of the other people. You should think of this as a game where you want to get as much for yourself as possible--but you definitely want to make sure that you get your fair share of a half, a third, etc. Remember, only you will know how much you value an item, so only you can decide what is a fair share.