Fair cake-cutting in practice

Maria Kyropoulou, Josué Ortega, Erel Segal-Halevi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Using two lab experiments, we investigate the real-life performance of envy-free and proportional cake-cutting procedures with respect to fairness and preference manipulation. Although the observed subjects' strategic behavior eliminates the fairness guarantees of envy-free procedures, we nonetheless find evidence that suggests that envy-free procedures are fairer than their proportional counterparts. Our results support the practical use of the celebrated Selfridge-Conway procedure, and more generally, of envy-free cake-cutting mechanisms. We also find that subjects learn their opponents' preferences after repeated interaction and use this knowledge to improve their allocated share of the cake. Learning increases strategic behavior, but also reduces envy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-49
Number of pages22
JournalGames and Economic Behavior
StatePublished - May 2022


  • Cake-cutting
  • Cut-and-choose
  • Envy
  • Experimentation and learning
  • Fairness
  • Preference manipulation
  • Selfridge-Conway


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