Strategic Ignorance in Bargaining
In his classic article "An Essay on Bargaining" Schelling (1956) argues that ignorance might actually be strength rather than weakness. We test and confirm Schelling's conjecture in a simple take-it-or-leave bargaining experiment where the proposer can choose between two possible offers. Option A always gives the proposer a higher payoff than option B. The payoff of the responder depends on the (randomly determined) state of nature, i.e., in state s2 payoffs of the two players are aligned while they are not in state s1. The responder is always informed about the actual state. The proposer knows the actual state in our first treatment but not in the second. We find that proposers indeed benefit from ignorance because the responders accept almost all offers (even the unfavorable ones) if the payoffs of the responder have not been transparent for the proposer. In additional treatments we investigate situations where the proposer can deliberately remain ignorant. One could assume that remaining ignorant on purpose would be punished by the responder at least if an unfavorable outcome results. Surprisingly, we find that strategically remaining ignorant tends to be beneficial for the proposer particularly if the responder does not know with certainty whether it was the proposer's intention to remain ignorant or whether it was not her intention.
|Date of creation:||Oct 2011|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page: http://www.iza.org
|Order Information:|| Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany|
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Thomas Gehrig & Werner Güth & René Levínský, 2003. "Ultimatum Offers and the Role of Transparency: An Experimental Study of Information Acquisition," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2003-16, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
- Kagel, John H. & Kim, Chung & Moser, Donald, 1996. "Fairness in Ultimatum Games with Asymmetric Information and Asymmetric Payoffs," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 100-110, March.
- Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2003.
"Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests,"
General Economics and Teaching
- Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences With Simple Tests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 817-869, August.
- Charness, Gary B & Rabin, Matthew, 2001. "Understanding Social Preferences With Simple Tests," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt0dc3k4m5, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
- Charness, Gary & Rabin, Matthew, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt3d04q5sm, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- Charness, Gary & Rabin, Matthew, 2001. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt4qz9k8vg, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- Guth, Werner & Schmittberger, Rolf & Schwarze, Bernd, 1982. "An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 367-388, December.
- Anders U. Poulsen & Michael V. M. Roos, 2009. "Do People Make Strategic Moves? Experimental Evidence on Strategic Information Avoidance," Discussion Papers 09-06, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
- Alvin E Roth & J K Murnighan, 1997.
"The rule of information in bargaining: an experimental study,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
1631, David K. Levine.
- Roth, Alvin E & Murnighan, J Keith, 1982. "The Role of Information in Bargaining: An Experimental Study," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1123-42, September.
- Gehrig, Thomas & Güth, Werner & Levínsky, René, 2006. "(In)Transparency of Information Acquisition: A Bargaining Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 5817, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Broberg, Tomas & Ellingsen, Tore & Johannesson, Magnus, 2007. "Is generosity involuntary?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 32-37, January.
- Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999.
"A Theory Of Fairness, Competition, And Cooperation,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868, August.
- Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., . "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Chapters in Economics, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
- Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, . "A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation," IEW - Working Papers 004, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1998. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation," CEPR Discussion Papers 1812, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1999. "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Munich Reprints in Economics 20650, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
- Gary E Bolton & Rami Zuwick, 2010.
"Anonymity versus punishments in ultimatum bargaining,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
826, David K. Levine.
- Bolton Gary E. & Zwick Rami, 1995. "Anonymity versus Punishment in Ultimatum Bargaining," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 95-121, July.
- Jason Dana & Roberto Weber & Jason Kuang, 2007. "Exploiting moral wiggle room: experiments demonstrating an illusory preference for fairness," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 67-80, October.
- Falk, Armin & Fehr, Ernst, 2003. "Why labour market experiments?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 399-406, August.
- Armin Falk & Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, .
"Testing Theories of Fairness - Intentions Matter,"
IEW - Working Papers
063, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- Guth, Werner & Huck, Steffen & Muller, Wieland, 2001. "The Relevance of Equal Splits in Ultimatum Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 161-169, October.
- Tara Larson & C. Monica Capra, 2009. "Exploiting moral wiggle room: Illusory preference for fairness? A comment," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 4(6), pages 467-474, October.
- Greiner, Ben, 2004. "An Online Recruitment System for Economic Experiments," MPRA Paper 13513, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Jeffrey Carpenter & Eric Verhoogen & Stephen Burks, 2003.
"The Effect of Stakes in Distribution Experiments,"
Middlebury College Working Paper Series
03-28, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
- Jordi Brandts & Gary Charness, 2011. "The strategy versus the direct-response method: a first survey of experimental comparisons," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 375-398, September.
- 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.
- Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
- David K. Levine, 1998.
"Modeling Altruism and Spitefulness in Experiment,"
Review of Economic Dynamics,
Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(3), pages 593-622, July.
- Anders Poulsen & Jonathan Tan, 2007. "Information acquisition in the ultimatum game: An experimental study," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 391-409, December.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6087. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.