The Curse of the First-in-first-out Queue Discipline

Trine Tornøe Platz, Lars Peter Østerdal

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We consider a game in which a large number of identical agents choose when to queue up at a single server after it opens. Agents are impatient for service and also incur a cost proportional to time spent in the queue. We show that the first-in–first-out queue discipline and the last-in–first-out queue discipline both lead to a unique equilibrium arrival distribution. However, among all work-conserving queue disciplines, the first-in–first-out performs the worst in terms of equilibrium utility and welfare, while the last-in–first-out performs the best.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGames and Economic Behavior
Pages (from-to)165–176
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017


  • Queue discipline
  • Nash equilibrium
  • FIFO
  • LIFO
  • Welfare
  • Congestion

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