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Aspirational Bargaining

  • Lones Smith

    (The University of Michigan)

  • Ennio Stacchetti

    (The University of Michigan)

This paper offers a noncooperative behaviourally-founded solution of the complete information bargaining problem where two impatient individuals wish to divide a unit pie. We formulate the game in continuous time, with unrestricted timing and content of offers. Reprising experimental work from 1960, we introduce and explore aspirational equilibrium -- a Markovian refinement of subgame perfection where behaviour is governed by aspiration values (expected payoffs). The analysis is tractable, and generates many intuitive aspects of bargaining absent from the standard temporal monopoly paradigm: wars of attrition explains delay; serious offers are concessions; offers may be turned down, strictly disappointing the proposers, or accepted, strictly helping the proposer. In particular, an endogenous `proposee' advantage arises, as opposed to the hard-wired proposer standard advantage. We find that discounted aspiration values form a martingale, and thereby compute bounds on the expected bargaining duration from observed offers. We also deduce some simple implications about consecutive offers, and relate delay times, offers, and acceptance rates. Finally, we draw into question a traditional comparative static: Ceteris paribus, more impatient players can expect more of the pie.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Game Theory and Information with number 0201003.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: 23 Jan 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpga:0201003
Note: Type of Document - Adobe acrobat [pdf]; prepared on IBM PC; to print on HP/PostScript; pages: 32 ; figures: included
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  1. Karandikar, Rajeeva & Mookherjee, Dilip & Ray, Debraj & Vega-Redondo, Fernando, 1998. "Evolving Aspirations and Cooperation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 292-331, June.
  2. Simon, Leo K & Stinchcombe, Maxwell B, 1989. "Extensive Form Games in Continuous Time: Pure Strategies," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(5), pages 1171-1214, September.
  3. Perry Motty & Reny Philip J., 1993. "A Non-cooperative Bargaining Model with Strategically Timed Offers," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 50-77, February.
  4. David Schmeidler & Itzhak Gilboa, 1994. "Reaction to Price Changes and Aspiration Level Adjustments," Working Papers 023, Ohio State University, Department of Economics.
  5. Dilip Abreu & David Pearce, 2003. "A Behavioral Model of Bargaining with Endogenous Types," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1446, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  6. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1982. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 97-109, January.
  7. Bergin, James & MacLeod, W Bentley, 1993. "Continuous Time Repeated Games," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 34(1), pages 21-37, February.
  8. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1994. "Comparing Equilibria," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 441-59, June.
  9. Sakovics Jozsef, 1993. "Delay in Bargaining Games with Complete Information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 78-95, February.
  10. D. Abreu & F. Gul, 1998. "Bargaining and Reputation," Princeton Economic Theory Papers 00s9, Economics Department, Princeton University.
  11. Stahl, Dale II, 1993. "Strategic choice of waiting and reaction times in bargaining," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 31-34.
  12. Fershtman Chaim & Seidmann Daniel J., 1993. "Deadline Effects and Inefficient Delay in Bargaining with Endogenous Commitment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 306-321, August.
  13. Fudenberg, Drew & Tirole, Jean, 1985. "Preemption and Rent Equilization in the Adoption of New Technology," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(3), pages 383-401, July.
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