NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Durability, Deadline, and Election Effects in Bargaining

Alp Simsek, Muhamet Yildiz

NBER Working Paper No. 22284
Issued in May 2016
NBER Program(s):, Political Economy, Law and Economics

We propose a tractable model of bargaining with optimism. The distinguishing feature of our model is that the bargaining power is durable and changes only due to important events such as elections. Players know their current bargaining powers, but they can be optimistic that events will shift the bargaining power in their favor. We define congruence (in political negotiations, political capital) as the extent to which a party's current bargaining power translates into its expected payoff from bargaining. We show that durability increases congruence and plays a central role in understanding bargaining delays, as well as the finer bargaining details in political negotiations. Optimistic players delay the agreement if durability is expected to increase in the future. The applications of this durability effect include deadline and election effects, by which upcoming deadlines or elections lead to ex-ante gridlock. In political negotiations, political capital is highest in the immediate aftermath of the election, but it decreases as the next election approaches.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w22284

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