To create a truly sustainable world, we need to generate ample resources and allocate them appropriately. In traditional economics, these goals are achieved using money. However, in many settings of particular social significance, monetary transactions are infeasible, be it due to ethical considerations or technological constraints. In this talk, Immorlica will discuss alternatives to money, including risk, social status, and scarcity, and show how to use them to achieve socially-optimal outcomes. Risk helps determine a person's value for a resource: the more someone is willing to risk for something, the more they value it. Using this insight, Immorlica proposes an algorithm to find a good assignment of students in school choice programs. Social status helps motivate people to contribute to a public project. Using this insight, we design badges to maximize contributions to user-generated content websites. Scarcity forces people to evaluate trade-offs, allowing algorithms to infer the relative strength of their preference for different options. Using this insight, we design voting schemes that select the most highly-valued alternative.
Find more on Nicole's work at http://www.immorlica.com.