False-Name Manipulation in Weighted Voting Games is Hard for Probabilistic Polynomial Time

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Abstract

False-name manipulation refers to the question of whether a player in a weighted voting game can increase her power by splitting into several players and distributing her weight among these false identities. Relatedly, the beneficial merging problem asks whether a coalition of players can increase their power in a weighted voting game by merging their weights. For the problems of whether merging or splitting players in weighted voting games is beneficial in terms of the Shapley--Shubik and the normalized Banzhaf index, merely NP-hardness lower bounds are known, leaving the question about their exact complexity open. For the Shapley--Shubik and the probabilistic Banzhaf index, we raise these lower bounds to hardness for PP, "probabilistic polynomial time," a class considered to be by far a larger class than NP. For both power indices, we provide matching upper bounds for beneficial merging and, whenever the new players' weights are given, also for beneficial splitting, thus resolving previous conjectures in the affirmative. Relatedly, we consider the beneficial annexation problem, asking whether a single player can increase her power by taking over other players' weights. It is known that annexation is never disadvantageous for the Shapley--Shubik index, and that beneficial annexation is NP-hard for the normalized Banzhaf index. We show that annexation is never disadvantageous for the probabilistic Banzhaf index either, and for both the Shapley--Shubik index and the probabilistic Banzhaf index we show that it is NP-complete to decide whether annexing another player is advantageous. Moreover, we propose a general framework for merging and splitting that can be applied to different classes and representations of games.

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