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Contracts, Behavior, and the Land-Assembly Problem:An Experimental Study

Author

Listed:
  • Kurtis Swope

    () (United States Naval Academy)

  • Pamela Schmitt

    () (United States Naval Academy)

  • John Cadigan

    () (Gettysburg College)

  • Ryan Wielgus

    () (United States Navy)

Abstract

We use multilateral bargaining experiments to examine how the order of bargaining (simultaneous or sequential) and the nature of contracts (contingent or non-contingent) affect the duration of bargaining, the efficiency of exchange, and the distribution of the surplus in a laboratory land-assembly game with one buyer and two sellers. While theory predicts an earnings advantage for the first seller when contracts are sequential and contingent, and for the second seller when contracts are sequential and non-contingent, we find that when a seller has an earnings advantage in the laboratory, it is the first seller to bargain in the non-contingent contract treatments. This result contradicts conventional wisdom and a common result from the land-assembly literature that it is advantageous to be the last seller to bargain, a so-called “holdout”. We also find evidence that sequential bargaining leads to more aggressive seller bargaining and greater bargaining delay than simultaneous bargaining, ceteris paribus, and that non-contingent contracts increase bargaining delay and the likelihood of failed agreements. The majority of sellers indicated a preference for being the first seller to bargain in all sequential bargaining treatments.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:usn:usnawp:29
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    File URL: http://www.usna.edu/EconDept/RePEc/usn/wp/usnawp29.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Thomas J. Miceli & Kathleen Segerson, 2007. "A Bargaining Model of Holdouts and Takings," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(1), pages 160-174.
    3. Flavio Menezes & Rohan Pitchford, 2004. "A model of seller holdout," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 24(2), pages 231-253, August.
    4. Miceli, Thomas J. & Sirmans, C.F., 2007. "The holdout problem, urban sprawl, and eminent domain," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3-4), pages 309-319, November.
    5. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2008. "Incomplete contracts, the hold-up problem, and asymmetric information," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 119-122, April.
    6. Eckart, Wolfgang, 1985. "On the land assembly problem," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 364-378, November.
    7. John Cadigan & Pamela Schmitt & Robert Shupp & Kurtis Swope1, 2009. "An Experimental Study of the Holdout Problem in a Multilateral Bargaining Game," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 344-457, October.
    8. Gneezy, Uri & Haruvy, Ernan & Roth, Alvin E., 2003. "Bargaining under a deadline: evidence from the reverse ultimatum game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 347-368, November.
    9. Ellingsen, Tore & Robles, Jack, 2002. "Does Evolution Solve the Hold-Up Problem?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 28-53, April.
    10. Ed Nosal, 2007. "Private takings," Working Paper 0713, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    11. Strange William C., 1995. "Information, Holdouts, and Land Assembly," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 317-332, November.
    12. Menezes, Flavio & Pitchford, Rohan, 2004. "The land assembly problem revisited," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 155-162, March.
    13. Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson, 2004. "Is There a Hold-up Problem?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(3), pages 475-494, October.
    14. Stephanie Lau, 2008. "Information and bargaining in the hold-up problem," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(1), pages 266-282.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sean M. Collins & R. Mark Isaac, 2012. "Holdout: Existence, Information, and Contingent Contracting," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(4), pages 793-814.

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