Role of Personality Style on Bargaining Outcomes

Bryan C. McCannon

West Virginia University – College of Business & Economics

John B. Stevens

Saint Bonaventure University

May 21, 2013


Bargaining is an essential activity in management and a central area of emphasis for economics. Game theorists have developed numerous theories regarding how institutional features of the negotiation affect the outcome. While empirical studies have validated these ideas, a substantial amount is left unexplained. We argue that behavior in bargaining situations is also driven by the traits of the individuals involved. Specifically, we hypothesize that personality characteristics can improve the ability to explain outcomes of negotiations. To test this hypothesis, we conducted alternating-offer bargaining experiments. Along with the experimental game, subjects completed a common personality-style inventory. We show that certain personality styles do particularly well in bargaining environments, while others do rather poorly. Personality styles can be used to identify which equilibria are likely to arise along with the prevalence of out-of-equilibria play. Finally, we illustrate that an agent’s personality interacts with the information constraints.

Role of Personality Style on Bargaining Outcomes

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