A formal framework for reasoning about opportunistic propensity in multi-agent systems

J. Luo, J.J.C. Meyer, M. Knobbout

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Opportunism is an intentional behavior that takes advantage of knowledge asymmetry and results in promoting agents’ own value and demoting others’ value. It is important to eliminate such selfish behavior in multi-agent systems, as it has undesirable results for the participating agents. In order for monitoring and eliminating mechanisms to be put in the right place, it is needed to know in which context agents are likely to perform opportunistic behavior. In this paper, we develop a formal framework to reason about agents’ opportunistic propensity. Opportunistic propensity refers to the potential for an agent to perform opportunistic behavior. Agents in the system are assumed to have their own value systems and knowledge. With value systems, we define agents’ state preferences. Based on their value systems and incomplete knowledge about the state, they choose one of their rational alternatives to perform, which might be opportunistic behavior. We then characterize the situation where agents are likely to perform opportunistic behavior and the contexts where opportunism is impossible to occur, and prove the computational complexity of predicting opportunism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)457-479
JournalAutonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Opportunism
  • Propensity
  • Logic
  • Reasoning
  • Decision theory


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