Divide-and-Conquer: A Proportional, Minimal-Envy Cake-Cutting Procedure

Steven J. Brams, Michael A. Jones, Christian Klamler

    Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


    Properties of discrete cake-cutting procedures that use a minimal number of cuts (n – 1 if there are n players) are analyzed. None is always envy-free or efficient, but divide- and-conquer (D&C) minimizes the maximum number of players that any single player may envy. It works by asking n ≥ 2 players successively to place marks on a cake that divide it into equal or approximately equal halves, then halves of these halves, and so on. Among other properties, D&C (i) ensures players of more than 1/n shares if their marks are different and (ii) is strategyproof for risk-averse players. However, D&C may not allow players to obtain proportional, connected pieces if they have unequal entitlements. Possible applications of D&C to land division are briefly discussed.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    JournalDagstuhl Seminar Proceedings
    StatePublished - 2007
    EventFair Division 2007 - Wadern, Germany
    Duration: Jun 24 2007Jun 29 2007

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Software
    • Hardware and Architecture
    • Control and Systems Engineering


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