Empathetic Social Choice on Social Networks


Social and economic networks play a fundamental role in facilitating interactions and behaviors between individuals, businesses, and organizations. It is widely recognized that such networks can correlate behaviors (and arguably preferences) among connected agents. We introduce a model for social choice—specifically, consensus decision making—on such networks that reflects certain interdependencies among agent utilities. Specifically, we define an empathetic social choice framework in which agents derive utility based on both their own intrinsic preferences and the satisfaction of their neighbors. We show how this problem translates into a weighted form of classical preference aggregation (e.g., social welfare maximization or certain forms of voting), and develop effective algorithms for consensus decision making that we believe should scale to large-scale (online) social or economic networks. Preliminary experiments validate the effectiveness of our proposed algorithms.

In The Fourth International Workshop on Computational Social Choice (COMSOC’12).