Economic Incentives for Information Agents

  • Jeffrey O. Kephart
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 1860)


A fundamental barrier to the successful deployment of largescale information agent systems is a lack of proper incentives. Why should my agent provide an information service or good to your agent? Along with my colleagues in the Information Economies group at IBM Research, I believe that the best way to encourage agents to serve one another’s needs is to give them economic incentives. This simple tenet has profound implications, not just for information agents, but for the entire future of electronic commerce. We foresee a future in which billions of economically-motivated software agents buy, refine and sell information goods and services, forming highly adaptive, ephemeral supply webs that may ultimately constitute a large fraction of the global economy. Through the use of two simple examples, I motivate the importance of economic incentives and illustrate some behavior that may be exhibited by markets in which economic software agents participate.


Economic Incentive Software Agent Price Dispersion Information Agent Price Quote 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey O. Kephart
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Advanced CommerceIBM ResearchYorktown HeightsUSA

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