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Learning to Bargain

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Author Info

  • William T. Harbaugh

    ()
    (University of Oregon Economics Department)

  • Kate Krause

    ()
    (University of New Mexico Economics Department)

  • Lise Vesterlund

    ()
    (University of Pittsburgh Economics Department)

Abstract

This paper studies how children learn to bargain. We performed simple anonymous bargaining experiments with real payoffs with 256 children from age 8 to 18. On average, offers by even the youngest children were close to optimal, given the responses. Both offers and responses were similar to the results that others have reported for adults. Younger children showed more variance in the size of proposals. Children showed clear evidence of reinforcement learning, responding to a rejection by increasing subsequent proposals. This pattern was strongest for the youngest children, who tended to over-react to rejections. We found mixed support for social cognitive theory: while proposals increased after other children made larger proposals, they did not increase after proposals by others were rejected.

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File URL: http://economics.uoregon.edu/papers/UO-2004-9_Harbaugh_Learning_to_Bargain.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Oregon Economics Department in its series University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers with number 2004-9.

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Length: 34
Date of creation: 01 Nov 2003
Date of revision: 01 Nov 2003
Handle: RePEc:ore:uoecwp:2004-9

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Keywords: bargaining; learning; children; ultimatum game.;

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References

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  1. Roth, Alvin E. & Vesna Prasnikar & Masahiro Okuno-Fujiwara & Shmuel Zamir, 1991. "Bargaining and Market Behavior in Jerusalem, Ljubljana, Pittsburgh, and Tokyo: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1068-95, December.
  2. Murnighan, J. Keith & Saxon, Michael Scott, 1998. "Ultimatum bargaining by children and adults," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 415-445, August.
  3. Gregan-Paxton, Jennifer & John, Deborah Roedder, 1995. " Are Young Children Adaptive Decision Makers? A Study of Age Differences in Information Search Behavior," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(4), pages 567-80, March.
  4. Cameron, Lisa A, 1999. "Raising the Stakes in the Ultimatum Game: Experimental Evidence from Indonesia," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 37(1), pages 47-59, January.
  5. John Duffy & Nick Feltovich, 1997. "Does Observation of Others Affect Learning in Strategic Environments? An Experimental Study," Levine's Working Paper Archive 592, David K. Levine.
  6. Robert Slonim & Alvin E. Roth, 1998. "Learning in High Stakes Ultimatum Games: An Experiment in the Slovak Republic," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(3), pages 569-596, May.
  7. John, Deborah Roedder, 1999. " Consumer Socialization of Children: A Retrospective Look at Twenty-Five Years of Research," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(3), pages 183-213, December.
  8. W. Guth & R. Schmittberger & B. Schwartz, 2010. "An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining," Levine's Working Paper Archive 291, David K. Levine.
  9. Keith Murnighan & M Saxon, 1998. "Ultimatum bargaining by children and adults," Artefactual Field Experiments 00100, The Field Experiments Website.
  10. Guth, Werner & Schmittberger, Rolf & Schwarze, Bernd, 1982. "An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 367-388, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Cotton, Christopher & McIntyre, Frank & Price, Joseph, 2013. "Gender differences in repeated competition: Evidence from school math contests," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 52-66.
  2. Bucher-Koenen, Tabea & Schmidt, Carsten, 2011. "Time (In)Consistent Food Choice of Children and Teenagers," MEA discussion paper series 11251, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  3. Alessandro Bucciol & Marco Piovesan, 2008. "Luck or Cheating? A Field Experiment on Honesty with Children," Discussion Papers 08-28, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  4. Parco, James E. & Murphy, Ryan O., 2013. "Resistance to truthful revelation in bargaining: Persistent bid shading and the play of dominated strategies," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 154-170.
  5. Catherine Eckel & Philip Grossman & Cathleen Johnson & Angela Oliveira & Christian Rojas & Rick Wilson, 2012. "School environment and risk preferences: Experimental evidence," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 45(3), pages 265-292, December.
  6. Owens, Mark F., 2011. "Do other-regarding preferences change with age? Evidence from a gift exchange experiment," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 868-878.
  7. Ilaria Castelli & Davide Massaro & Alan Sanfey & Antonella Marchetti, 2010. "Fairness and intentionality in children’s decision-making," International Review of Economics, Springer, vol. 57(3), pages 269-288, September.

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