IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

What Price Compromise? Testing a Possibly Surprising Impliction of Nash Bargaining Theory


  • John Bone
  • John Hey
  • John Suckling


This paper provides a very simple experimental test of a prediction of Nash Bargaining Theory that seems counterintuitive. The context is a simple bargaining problem between two players who have to agree a choice from three alternatives. One alternative favors one player and a second favors the other. The third is a fair compromise, but is excluded as an agreed choice by Nash Bargaining Theory. Our experimental results show that agreement on this third outcome occurs rather often. So the Nash theory is not well-supported by our evidence, although neither is a Strategic explanation of the data. The Nash-precluded outcome appeals because of its compromise nature; indeed, players are prepared to pay a price which is (according to the Nash theory) irrationally high, in order to reach a fair compromise.

Suggested Citation

  • John Bone & John Hey & John Suckling, "undated". "What Price Compromise? Testing a Possibly Surprising Impliction of Nash Bargaining Theory," Discussion Papers 05/05, Department of Economics, University of York.
  • Handle: RePEc:yor:yorken:05/05

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Main text
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Roth, Alvin E & Murnighan, J Keith, 1982. "The Role of Information in Bargaining: An Experimental Study," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1123-1142, September.
    2. Cox, James C. & Friedman, Daniel & Gjerstad, Steven, 2007. "A tractable model of reciprocity and fairness," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 17-45, April.
    3. Guth, Werner & Schmittberger, Rolf & Schwarze, Bernd, 1982. "An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 367-388, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior

    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:yor:yorken:05/05. 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: (Paul Hodgson). 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.