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A ‘divide and choose’ approach to compromising


  • Postl, Peter


We study dispute resolution in the compromise model of Börgers and Postl (2009), which provides an alternative framework for analyzing the real-world procedure of tri-offer arbitration studied in Ashenfelter et al. (1992). Two parties involved in a dispute have to choose between their conflicting positions and a compromise settlement proposed by a neutral mediator. We ask how an adaptation of the familiar ‘divide and choose’ mechanism (DCM) performs as a protocol for dispute resolution in the absence of an arbitrator. We show that there is a unique equilibrium of the DCM if the parties’ von Neumann Morgenstern utilities from the compromise settlement are drawn independently from a concave distribution, or from any Beta-distribution (which need not be concave). Furthermore, for Beta-distributions that concentrate increasing probability mass on high von Neumann Morgenstern utilities of the compromise, the social choice rule implied by the DCM is asymptotically ex post Pareto efficient.

Suggested Citation

  • Postl, Peter, 2013. "A ‘divide and choose’ approach to compromising," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 119(2), pages 204-209.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:119:y:2013:i:2:p:204-209 DOI: 10.1016/j.econlet.2013.02.019

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ashenfelter, Orley, et al, 1992. "An Experimental Comparison of Dispute Rates in Alternative Arbitration Systems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(6), pages 1407-1433, November.
    2. Geoffroy de Clippel & Kfir Eliaz & Brian Knight, 2014. "On the Selection of Arbitrators," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(11), pages 3434-3458, November.
    3. Brams, Steven J. & Kilgour, D. Marc & Merrill, Samuel III, 1991. "Arbitration Procedures," Working Papers 91-38, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
    4. Börgers, Tilman & Postl, Peter, 2009. "Efficient compromising," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(5), pages 2057-2076, September.
    5. John Morgan, 2004. "Dissolving a partnership (un)fairly," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 23(4), pages 909-923, May.
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    More about this item


    Arbitration; Divide and choose; Collective decision making; Private information;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design


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