Here's a situation that comes up every now and then and with which I'd love to get some suggestions: how to divide goods between a group of people based on their individual preferences.
Here are two example scenarios:
1. Box of Candy. Suppose you have a box of mixed candies and want to divide them up between 4 people. :) One way to do that is just by taking turns, but although that results in everybody getting the same number of candies, I feel like it doesn't result in everybody getting the same "value" of candy. For example, if someone really loves chocolate covered almonds, they might prefer 2 of those rather than 3 or 4 other candies.
2. Food Basket. Suppose you have a basket of foods, including various fruits, vegetables, and meats; and you want to divide that between 3 people. Again, other than dividing by taking turns, is there a way to do this that maximizes the perceived value that each person receives?
I did some research online and found a bunch of stuff related to dividing goods in the context of a divorce setting, as well as several academic papers from math departments. So now I know about the sealed bids method and the "method of markers," but neither seem well suited to the examples above.
Intuitively, it seems to me that there should be some method where each person either ranks their preferences or allocates a given amount of points, but I can't quite figure that out.