Reputational Bargaining with Ultimatum Opportunities
70 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2018 Last revised: 10 Apr 2021
Date Written: April 9, 2021
We study two-sided reputational bargaining with opportunities to issue an ultimatum---threats to force dispute resolution. Each player is either a justified type, who never concedes and issues an ultimatum whenever an opportunity arrives, or an unjustified type, who can concede, wait, or bluff with an ultimatum. In equilibrium, the presence of ultimatum opportunities can harm or benefit a player by decelerating or accelerating reputation building. When only one player can issue an ultimatum, equilibrium play is unique. The hazard rate of dispute resolution is discontinuous and piecewise monotonic in time. As the probabilities of being justified vanish, agreement is immediate and efficient, and if the set of justifiable demands is rich, payoffs modify Abreu and Gul (2000), with the discount rate replaced by the ultimatum opportunity arrival rate if the former is smaller. When both players' ultimatum opportunities arrive sufficiently fast, there may exist multiple equilibria in which their reputations do not build up and negotiation lasts forever.
Keywords: reputational bargaining, ultimatum, arbitration
JEL Classification: C78
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation