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Arbitrator Decision Making: When are Final Offers Important?


  • Max H. Bazerman
  • Henry S. Farber


Analysis of the wages awarded by 64 arbitrators in 25 simulated interest arbitration cases strongly supports a model in which arbitrators, in determining an award, are influenced both by the facts of the case and by the offers of the parties. The arbitrators clearly weighted the facts more heavily than the offers in all cases. In addition, the importance of the facts relative to the offers increased as the offers diverged, suggesting that arbitrators' decisions were influenced more by reasonable offers than by unreasonable offers. The results contradict the naive split-the-difference view of arbitrator behavior in conventional arbitration that has led to the development of final-offer arbitration.

Suggested Citation

  • Max H. Bazerman & Henry S. Farber, 1985. "Arbitrator Decision Making: When are Final Offers Important?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 39(1), pages 76-89, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ilrrev:v:39:y:1985:i:1:p:76-89

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    Cited by:

    1. David E. Bloom, 1988. "Arbitrator Behavior in Public Sector Wage Disputes," NBER Chapters, in: When Public Sector Workers Unionize, pages 107-128, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. 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.
    3. Naomi Gershoni, 2019. "Individual Vs. Group Decision-Making: Evidence From A Natural Experiment In Arbitration Proceedings," Working Papers 1912, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Department of Economics.
    4. Roy Lewis, 1990. "Strike-free Deals and Pendulum Arbitration," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 28(1), pages 32-56, March.
    5. Henry S. Farber & Max H. Bazerman, 1987. "Divergent Expectations as a Cause of Disagreement in Bargaining: Evidence from a Comparison of Arbitration Schemes."," NBER Working Papers 2139, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Lawrence Hadley & John Ruggiero, 2006. "Final-offer arbitration in major league baseball: A nonparametric analysis," Annals of Operations Research, Springer, vol. 145(1), pages 201-209, July.
    7. Nathalie Chappe, 2001. "L'analyse économique d'un mode de résolution des litiges : l'arbitrage," Revue Française d'Économie, Programme National Persée, vol. 15(4), pages 187-208.

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