Distributed Decisions in Networks: Laboratory Study of Routing Splittable Flow


  • by Elena Katok, after 1 revision.


We study network games in which users choose routes in computerized networks susceptible to congestion. In the “unsplittable” condition, route choices are completely unregulated, players are symmetric, each player controls a single unit of flow and chooses a single origin–destination (OD) path. In the “splittable” condition, which is the main focus of this study, route choices are partly regulated, players are asymmetric, each player controls multiple units of flow and chooses multiple O–D paths to distribute her fleet. In each condition, users choose routes in two types of network: a basic network with three parallel routes and an augmented network with five routes sharing joint links. We construct and subsequently test equilibrium solutions for each combination of condition and network type, and then propose a Markov revision protocol to account for the dynamics of play. In both conditions, route choice behavior approaches equilibrium and the Braess Paradox is clearly manifested.