Models of Arbitrator Behavior: Theory and Evidence
41 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2004 Last revised: 24 Aug 2010
Date Written: June 1983
This paper analyzes and compares arbitrator behavior under conventional and final-offer arbitration. Simple models of arbitrator behavior are developed under each of these alternative mechanisms. These models are estimated and tested using data on the outcomes of both forms of arbitrationin New Jersey, a state in which arbitration is mandatory for unresolved pay disputes involving police officer unions and public employers. The major findings are (1) that the high proportion of union victories under final-offer arbitration were generated by a set of impartial arbitrators applying the same standards used in conventional arbitration, and (2) that union bargainers appear to be considerably more risk averse than employer bargainers, with the wage increases under final-offer arbitration having a lower mean and a lower variance than under conventional arbitration.
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