Friend-based ranking

Francis Bloch, Matthew Olckers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


We analyze the design of a mechanism to extract a ranking of individuals according to a unidimensional characteristic, such as ability or need. Individuals, connected on a social network, only have local information about the ranking. We show that a planner can construct an ex post incentive compatible and efficient mechanism if and only if every pair of friends has a friend in common. We characterize the windmill network as the sparsest social network for which the planner can always construct a complete ranking.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages49
JournalAmerican Economic Journal: Microeconomics
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020


  • social networks
  • mechanism design
  • peer ranking
  • targeting

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