Asymptotically Truthful Equilibrium Selection in Large Congestion Games

Ryan Rogers, Aaron Roth
This paper is subsumed by Robust Mediators in Large Games. The conference version appeared in EC 2014.

Studying games in the complete information model makes them analytically tractable. However, large n player interactions are more realistically modeled as games of incomplete information, where players may know little to nothing about the types of other players. Unfortunately, games in incomplete information settings lose many of the nice properties of complete information games: the quality of equilibria can become worse, the equilibria lose their ex-post properties, and coordinating on an equilibrium becomes even more difficult. Because of these problems, we would like to study games of incomplete information, but still implement equilibria of the complete information game induced by the (unknown) realized player types.
This problem was recently studied by Kearns et al. and solved in large games by means of introducing a weak mediator: their mediator took as input reported types of players, and output suggested actions which formed a correlated equilibrium of the underlying game. Players had the option to play independently of the mediator, or ignore its suggestions, but crucially, if they decided to opt-in to the mediator, they did not have the power to lie about their type. In this paper, we rectify this deficiency in the setting of large congestion games. We give, in a sense, the weakest possible mediator: it cannot enforce participation, verify types, or enforce its suggestions. Moreover, our mediator implements a Nash equilibrium of the complete information game. We show that it is an (asymptotic) ex-post equilibrium of the incomplete information game for all players to use the mediator honestly, and that when they do so, they end up playing an approximate Nash equilibrium of the induced complete information game. In particular, truthful use of the mediator is a Bayes-Nash equilibrium in any Bayesian game for any prior.