Peer Prediction without a Common Prior

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Peer Prediction without a Common Prior

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Title: Peer Prediction without a Common Prior
Author: Witkowski, Jens; Parkes, David C.

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Citation: Witkowski, Jens, and David C. Parkes. 2012. Peer prediction without a common prior. In Proceedings of the 13th ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce (EC ’12), June 04 - 08, 2012, Valencia, Spain, 964-981. New York, NY: ACM.
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Abstract: Reputation mechanisms at online opinion forums, such as Amazon Reviews, elicit ratings from users about their experience with different products. Crowdsourcing applications, such as image tagging on Amazon Mechanical Turk, elicit votes from users as to whether or not a job was duly completed. An important property in both settings is that the feedback received from users (agents) is truthful. The peer prediction method introduced by Miller et al. [2005] is a prominent theoretical mechanism for the truthful elicitation of reports. However, a significant obstacle to its application is that it critically depends on the assumption of a common prior amongst both the agents and the mechanism. In this paper, we develop a peer prediction mechanism for settings where the agents hold subjective and private beliefs about the state of the world and the likelihood of a positive signal given a particular state. Our shadow peer prediction mechanism exploits temporal structure in order to elicit two reports, a belief report and then a signal report, and it provides strict incentives for truthful reporting as long as the effect an agent's signal has on her posterior belief is bounded away from zero. Alternatively, this technical requirement on beliefs can be dispensed with by a modification in which the second report is a belief report rather than a signal report.
Published Version: doi:10.1145/2229012.2229085
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