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The role of strategic uncertainty in games: An experimental study of cheap talk and contracts in the Nash demand game

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  • Feltovich, Nick
  • Swierzbinski, Joe

Abstract

We utilise results from a human-subjects experiment to examine the connection between strategic uncertainty and outcomes in games. Our basic game is a Nash demand game where one player has an outside option available. A "chat" treatment allows bargainers to send cheap-talk messages prior to playing the basic game, and in a "contracts" treatment, they can additionally propose and accept binding contracts. We propose that strategic uncertainty comprises at least two facets: "coordination-type", which is lower in the chat game than in the basic game, and "rationality-type", which is lower in the contracts game than in the chat game. We find that both types of strategic uncertainty impact bargaining outcomes: moving from the basic game to the chat game, and thence to contracts, improves several aspects of outcomes, such as higher efficiency, less opting out and less under-demanding. Other results include a treatment effect on the types of agreements that are reached.

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  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:55:y:2011:i:4:p:554-574
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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. Marco Pagnozzi & Krista Jabs Saral, 2013. "Multi-Object Auctions with Resale: An Experimental Analysis," CSEF Working Papers 328, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    3. Luhan, Wolfgang J. & Poulsen, Anders U. & Roos, Michael W.M., 2017. "Real-time tacit bargaining, payoff focality, and coordination complexity: Experimental evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 687-699.
    4. 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.
    5. Pagnozzi, Marco & Saral, Krista J., 2015. "Efficiency in Auctions with (Failed) Resale," MPRA Paper 63962, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Martin Dufwenberg & Maroš Servátka & Radovan Vadovič, 2012. "ABC on Deals," Working Papers in Economics 12/14, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.
    7. Fabio Galeotti & Maria Montero & Anders Poulsen, 2015. "Efficiency versus equality in real-time bargaining with communication," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 15-18, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
    8. Dufwenberg, Martin & Servátka, Maroš & Vadovič, Radovan, 2017. "Honesty and informal agreements," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 269-285.
    9. Fabio Galeotti & Maria Montero & Anders Poulsen, 2015. "Efficiency versus Equality in Bargaining," Discussion Papers 2015-18, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    10. repec:eee:jeborg:v:145:y:2018:i:c:p:320-334 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Anbarci, Nejat & Feltovich, Nick, 2018. "How fully do people exploit their bargaining position? The effects of bargaining institution and the 50–50 norm," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 320-334.
    12. repec:eee:matsoc:v:91:y:2018:i:c:p:1-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Kroll, Eike B. & Morgenstern, Ralf & Neumann, Thomas & Schosser, Stephan & Vogt, Bodo, 2014. "Bargaining power does not matter when sharing losses – Experimental evidence of equal split in the Nash bargaining game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 261-272.

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