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A Simple Bargaining Mechanism That Elicits Truthful Reservation Prices

Brams, Steven J. and Kaplan, Todd R and Kilgour, D. Marc (2011): A Simple Bargaining Mechanism That Elicits Truthful Reservation Prices.

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We describe a simple 2-stage mechanism that induces two bargainers to be truthful in reporting their reservation prices in a 1st stage. If these prices criss-cross, the referee reports that they overlap, and the bargainers proceed to make offers in a 2nd stage. The average of the 2nd-stage offers becomes the settlement if both offers fall into the overlap interval; if only one offer falls into this interval, it is the settlement, but is implemented with probability 1/2; if neither offer falls into the interval, there is no settlement. Thus, if the bargainers reach the 2nd stage, they know their reservation prices overlap even if they fail to reach a settlement, possibly motivating them to try again.

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