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Using Collaborative Bargaining to Develop Environmental Policy when Information is Private

  • Christopher Bruce

    (University of Calgary)

  • Jeremy Clark

In many cases governments invite interest groups to use collaborative bargaining to resolve environmental conflicts. If the parties fail to reach agreement, the government threatens to impose a backstop policy. Bargaining models have predicted that any agreements will be influenced, variously, by self-interest, equity, or entitlement (to the status quo). Although most such models assume that the parties are well informed about one another’s utility functions, this assumption conflicts with the reality of negotiations over environmental policy. We develop a laboratory experiment to investigate the impact of private information. Subjects who bargain under this constraint are almost as likely to reach (approximately efficient) agreements as those bargaining under full information. We also find that equity plays a less important role, and entitlement a more important role, under private information than under full information. There is only limited evidence to suggest that parties are drawn to the Nash bargain.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Calgary in its series Working Papers with number 2011-07.

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Date of creation: 11 Mar 2011
Date of revision: 11 Mar 2011
Handle: RePEc:clg:wpaper:2011-07
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  1. Nash, John, 1950. "The Bargaining Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 18(2), pages 155-162, April.
  2. Shogren, Jason F., 1997. "Self-interest and equity in a bargaining tournament with non-linear payoffs," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 383-394, March.
  3. Murnigham, J.K. & Roth, A.E. & Schoumaker, F., 1985. "Risk Aversion in Bargaining: an Experimental Study," Cahiers de recherche 8536, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  4. Rhoads, Thomas A & Shogren, Jason F, 2003. "Regulation through Collaboration: Final Authority and Information Symmetry in Environmental Coasean Bargaining," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 63-89, July.
  5. Kalai, Ehud & Smorodinsky, Meir, 1975. "Other Solutions to Nash's Bargaining Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 43(3), pages 513-18, May.
  6. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
  7. Christopher Bruce & Jeremy Clark, 2008. "The Efficiency of Direct Public Involvement in Environmental Policymaking: An Experimental Test," Working Papers in Economics 08/08, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.
  8. Hoffman, Elizabeth & McCabe, Kevin & Smith, Vernon L, 1996. "Social Distance and Other-Regarding Behavior in Dictator Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 653-60, June.
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