Bluffing, Agonism, and the role of Overconfidence in Negotiation

Samuel A. Swift and Don Moore

in The Oxford Handbook of Economic Conflict Resolution

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199730858
Published online December 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Bluffing, Agonism, and the role of Overconfidence in Negotiation

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  • Economics
  • Microeconomics
  • Econometrics and Mathematical Economics


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This article investigates the impact of overconfidence on bargaining behavior, especially bluffing, and determines the conditions under which overconfident negotiators are advantaged or disadvantaged. Example of conflict resolution in the animal world is presented as an illuminating parallel to the decisions human negotiators make in pursuing the scarce resources they desire. Despite the problems produced by overconfidence in negotiation, it is possible that there are benefits of sufficient magnitude to offset the costs. A positive relationship between aspirations and outcomes is clearly noted. The formidable challenge to negotiators is to balance the advantages of confident behaviors with the liabilities of overconfident beliefs. The evidence of the benefits of overconfidence indicates that the behaviors associated with overconfidence, such as brazen requests and persistence, positively affect outcomes assuming that an agreement is reached.

Keywords: overconfidence; bargaining; bluffing; overconfident negotiators; conflict resolution; negotiation; overconfident beliefs

Article.  5564 words. 

Subjects: Economics ; Microeconomics ; Econometrics and Mathematical Economics

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