Stackelberg Max Closure with Multiple Followers

Karsten Jungnitsch, Britta Peis, Marc Schröder*

*Corresponding author for this work

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In a Stackelberg max closure game, we are given a digraph whose vertices correspond to projects from which firms can choose and whose arcs represent precedence constraints. Some projects are under the control of a leader who sets prices in the first stage of the game, while in the second stage, the firms choose a feasible subset of projects of maximum value. For a single follower, the leader’s problem of finding revenue-maximizing prices can be solved in strongly polynomial time. In this paper, we focus on the setting with multiple followers and distinguish two situations. In the case in which only one copy of each project is available (limited supply), we show that the two-follower problem is solvable in strongly polynomial time, whereas the problem with three or more followers is NP-hard. In the case of unlimited supply, that is, when sufficient copies of each project are available, we show that the two-follower problem is already APX-hard. As a side result, we prove that Stackelberg min vertex cover on bipartite graphs with a single follower is APX-hard.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3010-3024
Number of pages15
JournalMathematics of Operations Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


  • Stackelberg games
  • computational complexity
  • project selection

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