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Hard Bargains and Lost Opportunities

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  • Binmore, Ken, et al

Abstract

A long tradition in economics assumes that any potential gains from trade will be exploited. This emphasis on efficiency clashes with the possibility that hard bargaining over the division of the surplus may cause some potential deals to be lost. The authors examine an Outside Option Game designed to study the tension between maximizing the size of the surplus and bargaining over the division of this surplus among those who contributed to its creation. An experimental study confirms that subjects often fail to achieve efficient outcomes. A theoretical model accounts for this behavior in terms of an equilibrium achieved in an imperfect world. Coauthors are Chris Proulx, Larry Samuelson, and Joe Swierzbinski.

Suggested Citation

  • Binmore, Ken, et al, 1998. "Hard Bargains and Lost Opportunities," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(450), pages 1279-1298, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:108:y:1998:i:450:p:1279-98
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Nejat Anbarci & Nick Feltovich, 2013. "How responsive are people to changes in their bargaining position? Earned bargaining power and the 50–50 norm," EcoMod2013 5855, EcoMod.
    2. Feltovich, Nick & Swierzbinski, Joe, 2011. "The role of strategic uncertainty in games: An experimental study of cheap talk and contracts in the Nash demand game," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 554-574, May.
    3. Andreoni, James & Samuelson, Larry, 2006. "Building rational cooperation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 127(1), pages 117-154, March.
    4. Ellingsen, Tore & Robles, Jack, 2002. "Does Evolution Solve the Hold-Up Problem?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 28-53, April.
    5. Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson, 2004. "Is There a Hold-up Problem?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(3), pages 475-494, October.
    6. Nejat Anbarci & Nick Feltovich, 2013. "How sensitive are bargaining outcomes to changes in disagreement payoffs?," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 16(4), pages 560-596, December.
    7. Troger, Thomas, 2002. "Double Auctions, Ex-Post Participation Constraints, and the Hold-Up Problem," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt5qv060md, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
    8. Binmore, Ken & McCarthy, John & Ponti, Giovanni & Samuelson, Larry & Shaked, Avner, 2002. "A Backward Induction Experiment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 104(1), pages 48-88, May.
    9. Dufwenberg, Martin & Servátka, Maroš & Vadovič, Radovan, 2017. "Honesty and informal agreements," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 269-285.
    10. Hodaka Morita & Maroš Servátka, 2014. "Investment in Outside Options as Opportunistic Behavior: An Experimental Investigation," Working Papers in Economics 14/31, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.
    11. Randolph Sloof, 2003. "Price-setting Power versus Private Information," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 03-099/1, Tinbergen Institute.
    12. Troger, Thomas, 2002. "Why Sunk Costs Matter for Bargaining Outcomes: An Evolutionary Approach," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 102(2), pages 375-402, February.
    13. Dawid, Herbert & MacLeod, W. Bentley, 2008. "Hold-up and the evolution of investment and bargaining norms," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 26-52, January.
    14. 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.
    15. Carpenter, Jeffrey & Rudisill, McAndrew, 2003. "Fairness, escalation, deference, and spite: strategies used in labor-management bargaining experiments with outside options," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 427-442, August.
    16. James Andreoni & Michael A. Kuhn & Larry Samuelson, 2016. "Starting Small: Endogenous Stakes and Rational Cooperation," NBER Working Papers 21934, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Andreozzi, Luciano, 2010. "An evolutionary theory of social justice: Choosing the right game," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 320-329, September.
    18. Troger, Thomas, 2002. "Double Auctions, Ex-Post Participation Constraints, and the Hold-Up Problem," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt3f2509gz, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.

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