How To Get Your Fair Share

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 vlae, 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.

In the following three lessons, you will get a chance to play three different games that illustrate different aspects of fair division.

  1. Lake Front Property
    Here the item to be divided is a large piece of valuable lake front property. Land is a typical example of an item that can be cut up into smaller pieces.

  2. Divorce Settlement
    This example is restricted to only two people. In general the items to be divided can't be cut up into smaller pieces--for example a boat or a piano or a car.

  3. Estate Division
    Here too,the items may be indivisible, as in the division settlement, but now any number of people can participate.

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Bill Webb
CJ Kentler