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Bargaining and Search: An Experimental Study

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  • Rami Zwick

    (The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)

  • Ching Chyi Lee

    (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)

Abstract

We study experimentally two versions of a model in which a buyer and a seller bargain over the price of a good; however, the buyer can choose to leave the negotiation table to search for other alternatives. Under one version, if the buyer chooses to search for a better price, the opportunity to purchase the good at the stated price is gone. Under the second version, the seller guarantees the same price if the buyer chooses to return immediately after a search (presumably because a better price could not be found). In both cases, the buyer has a fairly good idea about what to expect from the search, but because the search is costly, he has to weigh the potential benefits of the search against its cost. It turns out (theoretically) that adding search to a simple bargaining mechanism eliminates some unsatisfactory features of bargaining theory. Our experiment reveals that the model can account for some (but not all) of the behavioral regularities. In line with recent developments in behavioral decision theory and game theory, which assume bounded rationality and preferences over the relative division of a surplus, we find that subjects follow simple rules of thumb and distributional norms in choosing strategies, which are reflected in the behavioral consistencies observed in this study.

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File URL: http://128.118.178.162/eps/exp/papers/9902/9902003.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Experimental with number 9902003.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: 23 Feb 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpex:9902003

Note: Type of Document - Acrobat PDF; prepared on PC; pages: 37 ; figures: included. Group Decision and Negotiation (in press)
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Web page: http://128.118.178.162

Related research

Keywords: Bargaining; search; outside option; ultimatum game;

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References

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  15. Birger Wernerfelt, 1994. "Selling Formats for Search Goods," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 13(3), pages 298-309.
  16. Weg, Eythan & Zwick, Rami & Rapoport, Amnon, 1996. "Bargaining in Uncertain Environments: A Systematic Distortion of Perfect Equilibrium Demands," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 260-286, June.
  17. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine & Jean Tirole, 1985. "Infinite-Horizon Models of Bargaining with One-Sided Incomplete Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1098, David K. Levine.
  18. Forsythe Robert & Horowitz Joel L. & Savin N. E. & Sefton Martin, 1994. "Fairness in Simple Bargaining Experiments," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 347-369, May.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Fiona Scott Morton & Jorge Silva-Risso & Florian Zettelmeyer, 2011. "What matters in a price negotiation: Evidence from the U.S. auto retailing industry," Quantitative Marketing and Economics, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 365-402, December.
  2. Aalbers, Rob & van der Heijden, Eline & Potters, Jan & van Soest, Daan & Vollebergh, Herman, 2009. "Technology adoption subsidies: An experiment with managers," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 431-442, May.
  3. Rami Zwick & Amnon Rapoport & Alison King Chung Lo & A. V. Muthukrishnan, 2001. "Consumer Search: Not Enough Or Too Much?," Experimental 0110002, EconWPA.
  4. Rob Aalbers & Eline van der Heijden & Jan Potters & Daan van Soest & Herman Vollebergh, 2007. "Technology Adoption Subsidies: An Experiment with Managers," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 07-082/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  5. Feri, Francesco & Gantner, Anita, 2011. "Bargaining or searching for a better price? - An experimental study," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 376-399, June.

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