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Modelling bargaining behaviors within biotech clusters - Towards the "power of the weak" emergence?


  • Isabelle Leroux


  • Alain Berro



If spatial and industrial economics theorical models, such as industrial districts, clusters, or learning regions propose a large analysis of differentiated coordination mecanisms, it however not really takes into account behavior of dispute dynamics, such as conflict of bargaining and power, which can explain both diversity and ambivalence of local coordinations. So, our purpose in this contribution is to bring to light that bargaining and power conflicts are at stake in coordinations structuration within territories. We base this contribution on Artificial Life simulations involving public and private local actors who bargain to share a local resource using more or less sophisticated strategies. On a methodologic point of view, our thought is based on an empirical established fact. Analysis of a biotechnology cluster in Toulouse-France (Leroux I., 2002, 2004) indeed contributes to bring to light that coordinations involving pharmaceutical industry, local communities and local research laboratories are based on direct or indirect evolving domination and concession bargaining games. If industrial firms play "the power of the weak" game, making concession of their decision power to public research laboratories, they endeavour systematically to exerce an influence or a discrimination power, by using hided and indirect means that forward by local communities.Starting from this established fact, we propose Artificial Life simulations of local bargaining games, inspired from the T. Ellingsen (1997) bargaining evolutionnary game. This is a Nash demand game under ultimatum. It leads to the interaction of obstinate agents whose demands are independent of those of the adversaries, and sophisticated agents who adapt their demand to that hoped for of their adversaries rather than gain nothing. As a result, our simulations show that bargainings between these local actors lead to an agreement which is not a perfect share, or an "universal" rule, but a compromise frequently hiding complex mecanisms of domination and concession. The main contribution of these simulations, which are based on genetic algorithms, is to put in a prominent position the variations of behavioral rules. We show how bargaining is an evolving processus based on domination and concession behaviors (influence, coercion) bringing to light the T. Schelling (1960) "power of the weak". This result brings to the fore the question of flexibility and phasing dynamics of power behaviors in local coordination bargainings. This model can contributes to open new researches focused on power and conflict strategies within local coordinations.

Suggested Citation

  • Isabelle Leroux & Alain Berro, 2005. "Modelling bargaining behaviors within biotech clusters - Towards the "power of the weak" emergence?," ERSA conference papers ersa05p173, European Regional Science Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa05p173

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Isabelle Leroux, 2004. "Les ambivalences des coordinations locales entre négociation, conflits et enjeux de pouvoir. Le cas des partenariats constitutifs d'une génopole à Toulouse," Revue d'économie régionale et urbaine, Armand Colin, vol. 0(4), pages 513-538.
    2. Tore Ellingsen, 1997. "The Evolution of Bargaining Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 581-602.
    3. Saviotti, Pier Paolo, 1998. "On the dynamics of appropriability, of tacit and of codified knowledge," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(7-8), pages 843-856, April.
    4. Giuliani, Elisa & Bell, Martin, 2005. "The micro-determinants of meso-level learning and innovation: evidence from a Chilean wine cluster," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 47-68, February.
    5. Boari, Cristina & Odorici, Vincenza & Zamarian, Marco, 2003. "Clusters and rivalry: does localization really matter?," Scandinavian Journal of Management, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 467-489, December.
    6. Maskell, Peter & Malmberg, Anders, 1999. "Localised Learning and Industrial Competitiveness," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(2), pages 167-185, March.
    7. Belussi, Fiorenza & Arcangeli, Fabio, 1998. "A typology of networks: flexible and evolutionary firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 415-428, August.
    8. Klein, Benjamin & Crawford, Robert G & Alchian, Armen A, 1978. "Vertical Integration, Appropriable Rents, and the Competitive Contracting Process," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 297-326, October.
    9. Patrick Cohendet & Patrick Llerena, 1999. "La conception de la firme comme processeur de connaissances," Revue d'Économie Industrielle, Programme National Persée, vol. 88(1), pages 211-235.
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