Welfare maximization in congestion games

Liad Blumrosen*, Shahar Dobzinski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Congestion games are non-cooperative games where the utility of a player from using a certain resource depends on the total number of players that are using the same resource. While most work so far took a game-theoretic approach to this problem, we study centralized solutions for congestion games from a computational point of view. We analyze the computational complexity of the welfare-maximization problem, and provide both approximation algorithms and lower bounds. Throughout the paper, different kinds of congestion effects (externalities) among the players are considered: positive, negative, and unrestricted. Our main algorithmic result is a constant approximation algorithm for congestion games with unrestricted externalities. We describe an important and useful connection between congestion games and combinatorial auctions. This connection allows us to use insights and methods from the combinatorial-auction literature for solving congestion games. Finally, we initiate the study of strategic centralized mechanisms in congestion-game environments.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 7th ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce 2006
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)1595932364, 9781595932365
StatePublished - 2006
Event7th ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce - Ann Arbor, MI, United States
Duration: 11 Jun 200615 Jun 2006

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce


Conference7th ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityAnn Arbor, MI


  • Approximation Algorithms
  • Combinatorial Auctions
  • Congestion Games
  • Welfare Maximization


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