Bargaining and Exchange in Social Networks: Negotiation Outcomes and Structural Dynamics

Research question/goal: 

For about two decades, exchange theories have explained exchange outcomes as the result of bilateral bargaining on the distribution of a perfectly divisible surplus (e.g., money). The theories explain how the structural positions in the bargaining network affect the exchange outcomes between adjacent actors. Power inequalities due to different structural positions thus manifest themselves in the negotiated distributions of exchange profits and, at least partly, in the actual trading patterns between connected actors. The focus on the structure only, however, is unsatisfactory, either from a theoretical point of view, but also if the focus is on understanding and explaining real world negotiation outcomes (e.g., wage bargaining, division of gains from joint-ventures). The project aims to identify those properties a sufficiently general theory of exchange networks should have. It studies, using experimental as well as non-experimental data, the effect of structural, normative, individual, and situational factors on exchange outcomes and the long-term dynamics of negotiation networks.

Current stage: 

The project proposal was rejected by the DFG. It is currently being revised and will be resubmitted to the DFG early in 2017. In addition to the experiments conducted in 2015, we ran a third experiment in 2016. The data are currently being analysed, manuscripts are in preparation.

Fact sheet

2014 to 2018
in preparation
Data Sources: 
lab experiments, survey data
Geographic Space: 
not limited, data pooling in Germany