Keywords: [ Stackelberg games ] [ equilibrium computation ] [ market equilibrium ]
Zero-sum stochastic games have found important applications in a variety of fields, from machine learning to economics. Work on this model has primarily focused on the computation of Nash equilibrium due to its effectiveness in solving adversarial board and video games. Unfortunately, a Nash equilibrium is not guaranteed to exist in zero-sum stochastic games when the payoffs at each state are not convex-concave in the players' actions. A Stackelberg equilibrium, however, is guaranteed to exist. Consequently, in this paper, we study zero-sum stochastic Stackelberg games. Going beyond known existence results for (non-stationary) Stackelberg equilibria, we prove the existence of recursive (i.e., Markov perfect) Stackelberg equilibria (recSE) in these games, provide necessary and sufficient conditions for a policy profile to be a recSE, and show that recSE can be computed in (weakly) polynomial time via value iteration. Finally, we show that zero-sum stochastic Stackelberg games can model the problem of pricing and allocating goods across agents and time. More specifically, we propose a zero-sum stochastic Stackelberg game whose recSE correspond to the recursive competitive equilibria of a large class of stochastic Fisher markets. We close with a series of experiments that showcase how our methodology can be used to solve the consumption-savings problem in stochastic Fisher markets.