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An Experimental Study of the Holdout Problem in a Multilateral Bargaining Game

Author

Listed:
  • Kurtis Swope

    () (United States Naval Academy)

  • Pamela Schmitt

    () (United States Naval Academy)

  • John Cadigan

    () (Gettysburg College)

  • Robert Shupp

    () (Michigan State University)

Abstract

When an economic exchange requires agreement by multiple independent parties, the potential exists for an individual to strategically delay agreement in an attempt to capture a greater share of the surplus created by the exchange. This “holdout problem” is a common feature of the land assembly literature because development frequently requires the assembly of multiple parcels of land. We use experimental methods to examine holdout behavior in a laboratory bargaining game that involves multi-person groups, complementary exchanges, and holdout externalities. The results of six treatments that vary the bargaining institution, number of bargaining periods, and the cost of delay demonstrate that holdout is common across institutions and is, on average, a payoff-improving strategy for responders. Both proposers and responders take a more aggressive initial bargaining stance in multi-period bargaining treatments relative to single-period treatments, but take a less aggressive bargaining stance when delay is costly. Nearly all exchanges eventually occur in our multi-period treatments, leading to higher overall efficiency relative to the single-period treatments, both with and without delay costs.

Suggested Citation

  • Kurtis Swope & Pamela Schmitt & John Cadigan & Robert Shupp, 2008. "An Experimental Study of the Holdout Problem in a Multilateral Bargaining Game," Departmental Working Papers 21, United States Naval Academy Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:usn:usnawp:21
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Gantner, Anita & Kerschbamer, Rudolf, 2016. "Fairness and efficiency in a subjective claims problem," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 131(PA), pages 21-36.
    2. Kurtis Swope & Pamela Schmitt & John Cadigan & Ryan Wielgus, 2010. "Contracts, Behavior, and the Land-Assembly Problem:An Experimental Study," Departmental Working Papers 29, United States Naval Academy Department of Economics.
    3. repec:eee:ecolec:v:144:y:2018:i:c:p:36-58 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Gantner, Anita & Horn, Kristian & Kerschbamer, Rudolf, 2016. "Fair and efficient division through unanimity bargaining when claims are subjective," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 56-73.
    5. Cadigan, John & Schmitt, Pamela & Shupp, Robert & Swope, Kurtis, 2011. "The holdout problem and urban sprawl: Experimental evidence," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 72-81, January.
    6. Isaac, R. Mark & Kitchens, Carl & Portillo, Javier E., 2016. "Can buyer “mobility” reduce aggregation failures in land-assembly?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 16-30.
    7. Shupp Robert & Cadigan John & Schmitt Pamela M. & Swope Kurtis J., 2013. "Institutions and information in multilateral bargaining experiments," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 13(1), pages 485-524, June.
    8. Parente, Michael D. & Winn, Abel M., 2012. "Bargaining behavior and the tragedy of the anticommons," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 475-490.
    9. repec:eee:juecon:v:105:y:2018:i:c:p:176-185 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Abel M. Winn & Matthew W. McCarter, 2016. "Who’s Holding Out? An Experimental Study of the Benefits and Burdens of Eminent Domain," Working Papers 0154mkt, College of Business, University of Texas at San Antonio.
    11. Swope, Kurtis J. & Cadigan, John & Schmitt, Pamela, 2014. "That's my final offer! Bargaining behavior with costly delay and credible commitment," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 44-53.
    12. Usha Sridhar & Sridhar Mandyam, 2013. "A Group Utility Maximizer Mechanism for Land Assembly," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 47(3), pages 466-488, October.
    13. Kitchens, Carl & Roomets, Alex, 2015. "Dealing with eminent domain," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 22-31.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
    • C7 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory
    • K1 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law
    • J5 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining

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