Rawlsian Fairness in Online Bipartite Matching: Two-sided, Group, and Individual

Online bipartite-matching platforms are ubiquitous and find applications in important areas such as crowdsourcing and ridesharing. In the most general form, the platform consists of three entities: two sides to be matched and a platform operator that decides the matching. The design of algorithms for such platforms has traditionally focused on the operator's (expected) profit. Recent reports have shown that certain demographic groups may receive less favorable treatment under pure profit maximization. As a result, a collection of online matching algorithms have been developed that give a fair treatment guarantee for one side of the market at the expense of a drop in the operator's profit. In this paper, we generalize the existing work to offer fair treatment guarantees to both sides of the market simultaneously, at a calculated worst case drop to operator profit. We consider group and individual Rawlsian fairness criteria. Moreover, our algorithms have theoretical guarantees and have adjustable parameters that can be tuned as desired to balance the trade-off between the utilities of the three sides. We also derive hardness results that give clear upper bounds over the performance of any algorithm.

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