ICD with a twist

In a comment on Felten’s blog article about false congestion as an incentive to send less traffic, Jim Horning reminded me of a classic article by Coffman and Kleinrock about incentives in scheduling computer resources:

E.G. Coffman and L. Kleinrock. “Computer scheduling methods and their countermeasures.? In AFIPS conference proceedings, volume 32, pages 11–21, 1968.

Coffman and Kleinrock argue that users will adapt to any scheduling rule implemented. Therefore, they argue, an incentive-compatible designer would decide which new behavior she wants users to adopt, and then implement a scheduling rule that to which that behavior is the best countermeasure. That’s a very apt and clever way to express the principle of incentive-centered design!