The Dark Side of the Future: An Experimental Test of Commitment Problems in Bargaining

International Studies Quarterly, Forthcoming

44 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2010

See all articles by Dustin Tingley

Dustin Tingley

Princeton University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: November 1, 2009

Abstract

While most existing theoretical and experimental literatures focus on how a high probability of repeated play can lead to more socially efficient outcomes (for instance, using the result that cooperation is possible in a repeated prisoner's dilemma), this paper focuses on the detrimental effects of repeated play, the "Dark Side of the Future". I study a resource division model with repeated interaction and changes in bargaining strength. The model predicts a negative relationship between the likelihood of repeated interaction and social efficiency. This is because the longer shadow of the future exacerbates commitment problems created by changes in bargaining strength. I test and find support for the model using incentivized laboratory experiments. Increases in the likelihood of repeated play leads to more socially inefficient outcomes in the laboratory.

Keywords: commitment problems, international relations, bargaining, laboratory experiments, shadow of the future

Suggested Citation

Tingley, Dustin, The Dark Side of the Future: An Experimental Test of Commitment Problems in Bargaining (November 1, 2009). International Studies Quarterly, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1552104

Dustin Tingley (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Corwin Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544-1012
United States

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