IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

How do coalitions get built - Evidence from an extensive form coalition game with renegotiation & externalities


  • Gary E Bolton
  • Jeannette Brosig


We investigate a three-person coalition game in which one bargainer, the builder, can propose and build a coalition over two stages. In equilibrium, coalition building ends with an efficient grand coalition, while the equilibrium path is contingent on the values of the two-person coalitions and associated externality payoffs. Considering relative payoffs need not change the equilibrium path. Nevertheless, outcomes in the experiment are often inefficient. One explanation is that bargainers have difficulties anticipating the future actions of other bargainers. This problem might be mitigated by allowing bargainers to communicate prior to each stage. A test finds that communication does in fact increase efficiency, although unevenly, and at the cost of the builder. The study implies that the nature and pattern of communication among bargainers is a critical factor in efficient coalition building.

Suggested Citation

  • Gary E Bolton & Jeannette Brosig, 2007. "How do coalitions get built - Evidence from an extensive form coalition game with renegotiation & externalities," Working Paper Series in Economics 30, University of Cologne, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kls:series:0030

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1982. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 97-109, January.
    2. Guillaume Fr├ęchette & John H. Kagel & Massimo Morelli, 2005. "Behavioral Identification in Coalitional Bargaining: An Experimental Analysis of Demand Bargaining and Alternating Offers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(6), pages 1893-1937, November.
    3. Okada, Akira & Riedl, Arno, 2005. "Inefficiency and social exclusion in a coalition formation game: experimental evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 278-311, February.
    4. Bolton, Gary E, 1991. "A Comparative Model of Bargaining: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1096-1136, December.
    5. Ochs, Jack & Roth, Alvin E, 1989. "An Experimental Study of Sequential Bargaining," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 355-384, June.
    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. Armando Gomes, 2005. "Multilateral Contracting with Externalities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(4), pages 1329-1350, July.
    8. Johnson, Eric J. & Camerer, Colin & Sen, Sankar & Rymon, Talia, 2002. "Detecting Failures of Backward Induction: Monitoring Information Search in Sequential Bargaining," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 104(1), pages 16-47, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    coalitional bargaining; communication; game theory; experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C7 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory
    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kls:series:0030. 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: (Kiryl Khalmetski). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.