The curse of sequentiality in routing games

José Correa, Jasper de Jong, Bart de Keijzer, Marc Jochen Uetz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


In the "The curse of simultaneity", Paes Leme at al. show that there are interesting classes of games for which sequential decision making and corresponding subgame perfect equilibria avoid worst case Nash equilibria, resulting in substantial improvements for the price of anarchy. This is called the sequential price of anarchy. A handful of papers have lately analysed it for various problems, yet one of the most interesting open problems was to pin down its value for network congestion games, where the price of anarchy equals 5/2. The main contribution of this paper is the surprising result that the sequential price of anarchy is unbounded even for linear symmetric routing games, thereby showing that sequentiality can be arbitrarily worse than simultaneity for this important class of games. Complementing this unboundedness result we solve an open problem in the area by establishing that the (regular) price of anarchy for linear symmetric routing games equals 5/2. Additionally, we prove that in these games, even with two players, computing the outcome of a subgame perfect equilibrium is NP-hard. The latter explains, to some extent, the difficulty of analyzing subgame perfect equilibria.
Original languageUndefined
Title of host publication11th International Conference on Web and Internet Economics, WINE 2015
EditorsEvangelos Markakis, Guido Schäfer
Place of PublicationHeidelberg
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)978-3-662-48994-9
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015
Event11th International Conference on Web and Internet Economics, WINE 2015 - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 9 Dec 201512 Dec 2015
Conference number: 11

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science
PublisherSpringer Verlag
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference11th International Conference on Web and Internet Economics, WINE 2015
Abbreviated titleWINE
Internet address


  • CR-F.2
  • EWI-26532
  • MSC-65K05
  • METIS-315076
  • Network Routing Games
  • Price of Anarchy
  • IR-98689
  • MSC-90C27

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