Speaker: Dov Samet
Affiliation: Tel Aviv University
Title: Interim agreements: In the footsteps of Zeno, Parkinson, and Nash
Date: Thursday, 14 Feb 2013
Time: 10:30 am
Location: Room 317, Owen Glenn Building

Zeno’s paradoxes of motion, which claim that moving from one point to another cannot be accomplished in finite time, seem to be of serious concern when moving towards an agreement in utility space is concerned. Parkinson’s Law of Triviality implies that such an agreement cannot be reached in finite time. By explicitly modeling dynamic processes of reaching interim agreements, we show that if utilities are von Neumann-Morgenstern, then no such process can bring about an agreement in finite time in linear bargaining problems. To extend this result for all bargaining problems, we characterize a particular path illustrated by Raiffa, and show that no agreement is reached along this path in finite time. When deadlines are set, then agreements are reached exactly at the deadline, proving Parkinson’s Law that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.

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