AAAI Publications, Twenty-Sixth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence

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The Price of Neutrality for the Ranked Pairs Method
Markus Brill, Felix Fischer

Last modified: 2012-07-14


The complexity of the winner determination problem has been studied for almost all common voting rules. A notable exception, possibly caused by some confusion regarding its exact definition, is the method of ranked pairs. The original version of the method, due to Tideman, yields a social preference function that is irresolute and neutral. A variant introduced subsequently uses an exogenously given tie-breaking rule and therefore fails neutrality. The latter variant is the one most commonly studied in the area of computational social choice, and it is easy to see that its winner determination problem is computationally tractable. We show that by contrast, computing the set of winners selected by Tideman's original ranked pairs method is NP-complete, thus revealing a trade-off between tractability and neutrality. In addition, several known results concerning the hardness of manipulation and the complexity of computing possible and necessary winners are shown to follow as corollaries from our findings.


ranked pairs

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