Beyond Dividing the Pie: Multi-Issue Bargaining in the Laboratory

Olivier Bochet, Manshu Khanna, Simon Siegenthaler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We design a laboratory experiment to study bargaining behaviour when negotiations involve multiple issues. Parties must discover both trading prices and agreement scopes, giving rise to unexplored information structures and bargaining strategies. We find that bargainers often trade the efficient set of issues despite lacking information about individual aspects. However, beneficial agreements critically hinge on integrated negotiations that allow deals on bundles of issues. Moreover, access to more information boosts agreement rates in small-surplus negotiations but can also backfire as it triggers increased risk-taking and conflicting fairness preferences in large-surplus negotiations. Finally, successful negotiations display a specific bargaining convention that emerges endogenously. It involves alternating offers that meet the other side's most recent demand halfway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-191
Number of pages29
JournalReview of Economic Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2024


  • Alternating offers
  • Asymmetric information
  • Bundling
  • Negotiation scope
  • Value creation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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