SFB 303 Discussion Paper No. B - 440

Author: Ockenfels, Axel, and Reinhard Selten
Title: An Experiment on the Hypothesis of Involuntary Truth-Signalling in Bargaining
Abstract: The paper examines face-to-face interaction in a simple two-person bargaining game with incomplete information about the division of a fixed sum of money in which each bargainer can either have costs to be subtracted from her bargaining agreement payoff or not. The bargaining events are observed by onlookers who make guesses of the cost situations of the participants. The work of Gauthier (1978) and Frank (1987, 1988), among others, suggests that the onlookers detection accuracy exceeds chance accuracy because of involuntary signals inherent in the behavior of the bargainers. It is shown that cost guesses are somewhat more accurate than chance, but also that this effect is entirely explainable by the onlookers information about objective features of the bargaining process, namely the bargaining time and the final result.
Keywords: bargaining, experiments, face-to-face, truth-signalling
JEL-Classification-Number: C70, C91, D70, D82
Creation-Date: September 1998
URL: ../1998/b/bonnsfb440.pdf

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