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Bargaining and Network Structure: An Experiment

  • Gary Charness
  • Margarida Corominas-Bosch & Guillaume R. Frechette

Abstract: 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 evidence of a form of social learning the shares (publicly) allocated to others in the past affect what one is willing to accept.

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Paper provided by Econometric Society in its series Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings with number 653.

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Date of creation: 11 Aug 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ecm:nasm04:653
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  1. Charness, Gary B, 1998. "Bargaining Efficiency And Screening: An Experimental Investigation," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt86r0x2tf, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  2. Ellison, Glenn & Fudenberg, Drew, 1992. "Rules of Thumb for Social Learning," IDEI Working Papers 17, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  3. Glenn Ellison, 2000. "Evolving Standards for Academic Publishing: A q-r Theory," NBER Working Papers 7805, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  5. Gale, Douglas, 1987. "Limit theorems for markets with sequential bargaining," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 20-54, October.
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  7. Falk, Armin & Kosfeld, Michael, 2003. "It's All About Connections: Evidence on Network Formation," CEPR Discussion Papers 3970, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Edward E. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1995. "Crime and Social Interactions," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1738, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  9. Corominas-Bosch, Margarida, 2004. "Bargaining in a network of buyers and sellers," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 35-77, March.
  10. Bala, V. & Goyal, S., 1995. "Learning from Neighbors," Econometric Institute Research Papers EI 9549-/A, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus School of Economics (ESE), Econometric Institute.
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  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Ellison, Glenn & Fudenberg, Drew, 1995. "Word-of-Mouth Communication and Social Learning," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(1), pages 93-125, February.
  15. Jackson, Matthew O. & Kalai, Ehud, 1997. "Social Learning in Recurring Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 21(1-2), pages 102-134, October.
  16. John Duffy & Nick Feltovich, 1997. "Does Observation of Others Affect Learning in Strategic Environments? An Experimental Study," Levine's Working Paper Archive 592, David K. Levine.
  17. Arial Rubinstein & Asher Wolinsky, 1985. "Equilibrium in a Market with Sequential Bargaining," Levine's Working Paper Archive 623, David K. Levine.
  18. Michael Kosfeld, . "Network Experiments," IEW - Working Papers 152, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
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