Strategic Delay in Bargaining with Two-Sided Uncertainty

Peter Crampton , Review of Economic Studies 59(1) , 205-225 , January 1992.

The role of strategic delay is analyzed in an infinite-horizon alternating-offer model of bargaining. A buyer and seller are engaged in the trade of a single object. Both bargainers have private information about their own preferences and are impatient in that delaying agreement is costly. An equilibrium is constructed in which the bargainers signal the strength of their bargaining positions by delaying prior to making an offer. A bargainer expecting large gains from trade is more impatient than one expecting small gains, and hence makes concessions earlier on. Trade occurs whenever gains from trade exist, but due to the private information, only after costly delay.

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