Self-serving invocations of shared and asymmetric history in negotiations

Linda Dezsö, George Loewenstein

Veröffentlichungen: Working Paper


The existence of an asymmetric history between bargaining partners can trigger self-serving beliefs about the fair settlement of a subsequent dispute, ultimately leading to bargaining impasse. In a two-stage bargaining experiment, we demonstrate that dyads who share a history that produced wealth asymmetries between them are less likely to settle in a subsequent negotiation than when the same wealth asymmetry stems from partners’ independent histories. When partners share an asymmetric history, the individual who previously lost out in the first stage believes that s/he deserves compensation in the second-stage, but the individual who prevailed in the first stage believes that compensation is not called for. These divergent, self-serving, views about a fair settlement – and the resulting irreconcilable demands – lead to bargaining impasse. We find, further, that unbiased spectators side with the losers in the first stage; they believe that it is fair for them to be compensated in the second stage. Indeed, this is true albeit to a lesser extent, even if the winner and loser had not directly interacted with one-another – i.e., if the history is not shared.
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2019


ReiheVienna Economics Papers

ÖFOS 2012

  • 502047 Volkswirtschaftstheorie