Journal Article

Repeated Bargaining with Persistent Private Information

John Kennan

in The Review of Economic Studies

Published on behalf of Review of Economic Studies Ltd

Volume 68, issue 4, pages 719-755
Published in print October 2001 | ISSN: 0034-6527
Published online October 2001 | e-ISSN: 1467-937X | DOI:
Repeated Bargaining with Persistent Private Information

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The paper analyses repeated contract negotiations involving the same buyer and seller where the contracts are linked because the buyer has persistent (but not fully permanent) private information. The size of the surplus being divided is specified as a two-state Markov chain with transitions that are synchronized with contract negotiation dates. Equilibrium involves information cycles triggered by the success or failure of aggressive demands made by the seller. Because there is persistence in the Markov chain generating the surplus, a successful demand induces the seller to make another aggressive demand in the next negotiation, since the buyer's acceptance reveals that the current surplus is large. Rejection of an aggressive demand, on the other hand, leads the seller to be pessimistic about the size of the surplus in the next contract, so the seller makes a “soft” offer that is sure to be accepted. Then, after several such offers have been accepted, the seller is optimistic enough to again make an aggressive demand, creating an information cycle. An interesting feature of this cycle is that the soft price is not constant, but declines as the cycle continues, so as to offset the buyer's option value of re-starting the cycle when the current state is bad. An explicit mapping is given for the relationship between the basic parameters and the equilibrium prices and quantities; in particular, there is a closed-form solution for the threshold belief that makes the seller indifferent between hard and soft offers.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Economics

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