“On a chilly evening in March, students in Cecilia Arias’s mathematics course here at Rutgers University were learning about a concept called fair division,” Shannon Najmabadi wrote in an article which appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education on April 21, 2017. “More specifically, they were considering the case of Jason, Kelly, and Lauren, three business owners who share a location in the mall.”I was not able to find that article at the house organ for business as usual in higher education, although there might have been a related one that went behind the paywall on April 18.
“Suppose, Ms. Arias explained, that Jason makes the same amount of money each month, while Kelly gets not business in October, November or December. Meanwhile, Lauren earns most of her profits during that same quarter. If only one of them can use the space at a time, Ms. Arias asked, how can the year by fairly divided among the three without an angry standoff?” The name of the course is “Topics in Mathematics for the Liberal Arts.”
The problem reminds me of one from Alchian and Allen's University Economics, in which economics students get the opportunity to suggest a way to calculate percentages that doesn't involve erroneous economics. The solution involves Jason running a business with no seasonal variations, Lauren running something that I shall interpret as a Christmas-themed business, and Kelly deals in gardening supplies or something similar. If you allow for the sub-leasing of space, Jason contracts out space to Kelly for nine months and Lauren for three months. And why would these three enter into joint ownership of a space without considering the seasonal variations in their business in the first place?