Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Steven J. Brams
Fair division analyzes how to divide divisible or indivisible goods among two or more players in order to satisfy certain criteria of fairness. The problem of fair division goes back at least to the Bible. Abraham and Lot had to decide who would get Canaan and who Jordan; Solomon had to decide which of two women was the mother of a disputed baby. What was a fair solution in each case? This entry first discusses the criteria of fair division, followed by specific procedures and some applications in political science and everyday life. The oldest known procedure for dividing a single divisible good, such as a cake or land, between two players is “I cut, you choose,” or divide-and-choose. The same procedure can be used if there are multiple indivisible goods: The divider partitions the items into two piles, and the chooser selects one pile. If the divider has no ...