Multilateral Bargaining in Networks: On the Prevalence of Inefficiencies

32 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2015

Date Written: June 9, 2015


We introduce a noncooperative multilateral bargaining model for a network-restricted environment, in which players can communicate only with their neighbors. Each player strategically chooses the bargaining partners among the neighbors to buy out their communication links with upfront transfers. The main theorem characterizes a condition on network structures for efficient equilibria and shows the prevalence of strategic delays. If the underlying network is either complete or circular, then an efficient stationary subgame perfect equilibrium exists for all discount factors: all the players always try to reach an agreement as soon as practicable and hence no strategic delay occurs. In any other network, however, an efficient equilibrium is impossible for sufficiently high discount factors because some players strategically delay an agreement. We also provide an example of a Braess-like paradox, in which the more links are available, the less links are actually used. Thus, network improvements may decrease social welfare.

Keywords: Noncooperative Bargaining, Coalition Formation, Communication Restriction, Buyout, Network, Braess's Paradox

JEL Classification: C72, C78, D72, D74, D85

Suggested Citation

Lee, Joosung, Multilateral Bargaining in Networks: On the Prevalence of Inefficiencies (June 9, 2015). FEEM Working Paper No. 053.2015, Available at SSRN: or

Joosung Lee (Contact Author)

University of Edinburgh ( email )

Business School
29 Buccleuch Place
Edinburgh, Scotland EH8 9JS
United Kingdom

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