Standing United or Falling Divided? High Stakes Bargaining in a TV Game Show

21 Pages Posted: 25 Oct 2013 Last revised: 16 May 2015

See all articles by Dennie van Dolder

Dennie van Dolder

VU Amsterdam - School of Business and Economics; Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics (CeDEx) - University of Nottingham

Martijn J. van den Assem

VU Amsterdam - School of Business and Economics

Colin Camerer

California Institute of Technology - Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences

Richard H. Thaler

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Abstract

We examine high stakes three-person bargaining in a game show where contestants bargain over a large money amount that is split into three unequal shares. We find that individual behavior and outcomes are strongly influenced by equity concerns: those who contributed more to the jackpot claim larger shares, are less likely to make concessions, and take home larger amounts. Contestants who announce that they will not back down do well relative to others, but they do not secure larger absolute amounts and they harm others. There is no evidence of a first-mover advantage and little evidence that demographic characteristics matter.

Keywords: bargaining, negotiation, game show, natural experiment, equity theory, moral property rights, entitlements, fairness, concessions, first-mover advantage

JEL Classification: C70, C93, D03

Suggested Citation

van Dolder, Dennie and van den Assem, Martijn J. and Camerer, Colin F. and Thaler, Richard H., Standing United or Falling Divided? High Stakes Bargaining in a TV Game Show. American Economic Review, Papers and Proceedings, Vol. 105, No. 5, pp. 402-407, May 2015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2344422 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2344422

Dennie Van Dolder

VU Amsterdam - School of Business and Economics ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
Amsterdam, 1081HV
Netherlands

Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics (CeDEx) - University of Nottingham ( email )

University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD
United Kingdom

Martijn J. Van den Assem (Contact Author)

VU Amsterdam - School of Business and Economics ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
Amsterdam, 1081HV
Netherlands

Colin F. Camerer

California Institute of Technology - Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences ( email )

1200 East California Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91125
United States
626-395-4054 (Phone)
626-432-1726 (Fax)

Richard H. Thaler

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-702-5208 (Phone)
773-702-0458 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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