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Bargaining and Network Structure: An Experiment

  • Charness, Gary B
  • Corominas-Bosch, Margarida
  • FRECHETTE, GUILLAUME

We consider bargaining in a bipartite network of buyers and sellers, who can only trade with the limited number of people with whom they are connected. Such networks could arise due to proximity issues or restricted communication flows, as with information transmission of job openings, business opportunities, and transactions not easily regulated by external authorities. We perform an experimental test of a graph-theoretic model that allows us to decompose any two-sided network into simple networks of three types, with unique predictions about equilibrium prices for the networks in our sessions. We begin with two separate simple networks, which are then joined by an additional link. Participants appear to quickly grasp important characteristics of the networks. The results diverge sharply depending on how this connection is made, typically conforming to the theoretical directional predictions. Payoffs can be systematically affected even for agents who are not connected by the new link. We find strong evidence that shares (publicly) allocated in the past to others in one’s current position substantially and significantly affect what one is willing to accept.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara in its series University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series with number qt7v98682v.

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Date of creation: 20 Apr 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsbec:qt7v98682v
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  1. Falk, Armin & Kosfeld, Michael, 2003. "It's all about Connections: Evidence on Network Formation," IZA Discussion Papers 777, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  10. repec:dgr:kubcen:199457 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Ellison, Glenn & Fudenberg, Drew, 1993. "Rules of Thumb for Social Learning," Scholarly Articles 3196332, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  12. Charness, Gary, 2000. "Bargaining efficiency and screening: an experimental investigation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 285-304, July.
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  14. Bala, Venkatesh & Goyal, Sanjeev, 1998. "Learning from Neighbours," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(3), pages 595-621, July.
  15. Binmore, K & Shaked, A & Sutton, J, 1985. "Testing Noncooperative Bargaining Theory: A Preliminary Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(5), pages 1178-80, December.
  16. Oliver Kirchkamp & Rosemarie Nagel, 2001. "Repeated Game Strategies in Local and Group Prisoner's Dilemmas Experiments: First Results," Homo Oeconomicus, Institute of SocioEconomics, vol. 18, pages 319-335.
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  18. Keser, Claudia & Ehrhart, Karl-Martin & Berninghaus, Siegfried K., 1998. "Coordination and local interaction: experimental evidence," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 269-275, March.
  19. Corominas-Bosch, Margarida, 2004. "Bargaining in a network of buyers and sellers," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 35-77, March.
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