Contract Theory Framework for Wireless Networking



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With the rapid development of the modern communication networks, the problem we need to solve is no longer a pure engineering issue. In various heterogeneous network scenarios, there are service providers in need of performing economic analysis on how to ensure third parties' cooperation or attract end-users. In the other way round, third parties or end-users need to evaluate the economic benefits of cooperating or using the services from different service providers. Overall, the current wireless networks are facing a problem in which there is a tight coupling of industry-specific technologies and non-technology related network externality.

Contract theory, the 2014 Nobel Prize of economic science, has been widely used in industries, from banking to telecommunications. Particularly, contract theory is an efficient tool in dealing with asymmetric information between employer/seller(s) and employee/buyer(s) by introducing cooperation. In wireless networks, the employer/seller(s) and employee/buyer(s) can be of different roles depending on the scenario under consideration. Thus, there is a great potential to utilize the ideas, methods, and models of contract theory to design efficient wireless network mechanisms.

Given this background, this dissertation provides a theoretical research between wireless communications, networking, and economics. Especially, different contract theory models have been applied in various wireless networks scenarios. The main contribution of this dissertation are as follows.

An overview of basic concepts, classifications, and models of contract theory is provided. Furthermore, comparisons with existing economics methods in wireless networks are conducted.

Applications of contract theory for wireless networks are studied. Specially, three contract theory problems: adverse selection, moral hazard, and a mixed of the two, are applied into device-to-device (D2D) communication, mobile crowdsourcing, cognitive radio network, respectively.

Numerical results are provided to show that contract theory can be utilized for developing effective mechanisms for emerging wireless network scenarios such as traffic offloading, mobile crowdsourcing, as well as spectrum trading.

The potential and challenges of contract theory as a tool for designing mechanisms in future wireless networks are discussed.

This dissertation provides a theoretical research between wireless communications, networking, and economics, in which different contract theory models have been applied in various wireless networks scenarios. This work places a fundamental research on network economics, especially with the framework of contract theory. This research has the potential to contribute to the future of wireless networks network economics area, and have a long term effect on problems such as incentive mechanism and pricing schemes design, resource sharing and trading.



Contract theory, D2D communication, Mobile crowdsourcing, Cognitive radio network


Portions of this document have appeared in: Y. Zhang, Y. Gu, L. Liu, M. Pan, Z. Dawy, and Z. Han, “Incentive Mechanism in Crowdsourcing with Moral Hazard,” in TIEEE Wireless Communications and Networking Conference (WCNC), (New Orleans, LA), Mar. 2015; and in: Gu, Yunan, Yanru Zhang, Lin X. Cai, Miao Pan, Lingyang Song, and Zhu Han. "Exploiting student-project allocation matching for spectrum sharing in LTE-unlicensed." In Global Communications Conference (GLOBECOM), 2015 IEEE, pp. 1-6. IEEE, 2015; and in: Gu, Yunan, Yanru Zhang, Miao Pan, and Zhu Han. "Matching and cheating in device to device communications underlying cellular networks." IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications 33, no. 10 (2015): 2156-2166; and in: Zhang, Yanru, Erte Pan, Lingyang Song, Walid Saad, Zaher Dawy, and Zhu Han. "Social network aware device-to-device communication in wireless networks." IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications 14, no. 1 (2015): 177-190.