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Focal points and bargaining in housing markets

Listed author(s):
  • Pope, Devin G.
  • Pope, Jaren C.
  • Sydnor, Justin R.

Are focal points important for determining the outcome of high-stakes negotiations? We investigate this question by examining the role that round numbers play as focal points in negotiations in the housing market. Using a large dataset on home transactions in the U.S., we document sharp spikes in the distribution of final negotiated house prices at round numbers, especially those divisible by $50,000. The patterns cannot be easily explained by simple stories of convenience rounding or by list prices. We conclude that round numbers can serve as focal points, even in settings with very high stakes.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0899825615001013
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Games and Economic Behavior.

Volume (Year): 93 (2015)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 89-107

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Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:93:y:2015:i:c:p:89-107
DOI: 10.1016/j.geb.2015.07.002
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622836

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