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Open Covenants, Privately Arrived At

John Fingleton

Republic of Ireland - Irish Competition Authority

Michael Raith

University of Rochester - Simon Business School

February 2001

CEPR Discussion Paper No. 2709

This Paper analyses strategic bargaining between two agents each of whom negotiates on behalf of a principal. The principals face uncertainty about the bargaining skills of their agents as measured by the agents' abilities to assess the opponent's preferences. Agents then have an incentive to promote their reputation as skilled bargainers through their bargaining behaviour. We compare two different scenarios: open-door bargaining, where the principals observe the entire bargaining process, and closed-door bargaining, where they observe only the final outcome. We show that with open doors, the higher visibility of agents' actions induces low-skill agents to negotiate more aggressively than behind closed doors in order to distort their principals' inferences. Since this "posturing" increases the probability of delay or disagreement, closed-door bargaining is more efficient.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 60

Keywords: Career concerns, delegated bargaining, reputation, strategic bargaining

JEL Classification: C78, D70, D82

Date posted: March 26, 2001  

Suggested Citation

Fingleton, John and Raith, Michael, Open Covenants, Privately Arrived At (February 2001). CEPR Discussion Paper No. 2709. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=264362

Contact Information

John Fingleton (Contact Author)
Republic of Ireland - Irish Competition Authority
14 Parnell Square
Dublin 1
+353 1 804 5400 (Phone)
+353 1 804 5401 (Fax)
Michael Raith
University of Rochester - Simon Business School ( email )
Rochester, NY 14627
United States
585-275-8380 (Phone)
585-273-1140 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://works.bepress.com/michael_raith/

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