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Bargaining on networks: An experiment

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  • Gary Charness
  • Margarida Corominas

Abstract

While markets are often decentralized, in many other cases agents in one role can only negotiate with a proper subset of the agents in the complementary role. There may be proximity issues or restricted communication flows. For example, information may be transmitted only through word-of-mouth, as is often the case for job openings, business opportunities, and confidential transactions. Bargaining can be considered to occur over a network that summarizes the structure of linkages among people. We conduct an alternating-offer bargaining experiment using separate simple networks, which are then joined during the session by an additional link. The results diverge sharply depending on how this connection is made. Payoffs can be systematically affected even for agents who are not connected by the new link. We use a graph-theoretic analysis to show that any two-sided network can be decomposed into simple networks of three types, so that our result can be generalized to more complex bargaining environments. Participants appear to grasp the essential characteristics of the networks and we observe a rather consistently high level of bargaining efficiency.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 492.

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Date of creation: Aug 2000
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Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:492

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Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

Related research

Keywords: Bargaining; experiment; graph theory; network; Leex;

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References

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  1. Roth, Alvin E, 1984. "Stability and Polarization of Interests in Job Matching," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(1), pages 47-57, January.
  2. Kelso, Alexander S, Jr & Crawford, Vincent P, 1982. "Job Matching, Coalition Formation, and Gross Substitutes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1483-1504, November.
  3. Ariel Rubinstein, 2010. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Levine's Working Paper Archive 661465000000000387, David K. Levine.
  4. 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.
  5. Kirchsteiger, G. & Niederle, M. & Potters, J.J.M., 1998. "The Endogenous Evolution of Market Institutions: An Experimental Investigation," Discussion Paper 1998-67, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  6. Roth, Alvin E & Schoumaker, Francoise, 1983. "Expectations and Reputations in Bargaining: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(3), pages 362-72, June.
  7. Vernon L. Smith, 1962. "An Experimental Study of Competitive Market Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 322.
  8. Rachel E. Kranton & Deborah F. Minehart, 2001. "A Theory of Buyer-Seller Networks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 485-508, June.
  9. Knez Marc J. & Camerer Colin F., 1995. "Outside Options and Social Comparison in Three-Player Ultimatum Game Experiments," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 65-94, July.
  10. Matthew O. Jackson & Asher Wolinsky, 1994. "A Strategic Model of Social and Economic Networks," Discussion Papers 1098, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  11. Prasnikar, Vesna & Roth, Alvin E, 1992. "Considerations of Fairness and Strategy: Experimental Data from Sequential Games," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(3), pages 865-88, August.
  12. Blume, Andreas, et al, 1998. "Experimental Evidence on the Evolution of Meaning of Messages in Sender-Receiver Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1323-40, December.
  13. Crawford, Vincent P & Rochford, Sharon C, 1986. "Bargaining and Competition in Matching Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 27(2), pages 329-48, June.
  14. Forsythe, Robert & Kennan, John & Sopher, Barry, 1991. "An Experimental Analysis of Strikes in Bargaining Games with One-Sided Private Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 253-78, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Matthew O. Jackson, 2002. "The Stability and Efficiency of Economic and Social Networks," Microeconomics 0211011, EconWPA.
  2. Matthew O. Jackson, 2003. "A survey of models of network formation: Stability and efficiency," Working Papers 1161, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.

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