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A distributed routing protocol is presented for a wireless ad hoc network that consists of strategic agents. A strategic agent is rational but selfish, and has its own incentive to route traffic for other agents. A mechanism design (MD) approach is applied and a routing mechanism is designed such that maximizing the benefit of each strategic agent leads to a global optimal system. In this mechanism, an agent accepts payments for forwarding data for other agents if the payments cover their costs incurred by forwarding data. The payment is computed recursively to obtain a cost-efficient and truthful mechanism. The overpayment in normal mechanisms is completely eliminated.