Dyadic Processes of Disclosure and Reciprocity in Bargaining with Communication

Kathleen L. McGinn*, Leigh Thompson, Max H. Bazerman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


We offer a study revealing the mechanisms through which communication helps actual bargaining behavior outperform economic predictions. The possibility of individually strategic behavior in the presence of private information leads to game-theoretic predictions of less than full efficiency. We present a one-stage, simultaneous offers bargaining game in which buyers and sellers have independent, privately held valuations for the item being sold (i.e. a bilateral auction with two-sided private information). In three communication treatments, parties are: (a) allowed face-to-face communication prior to submitting offers; (b) allowed written communication prior to submitting offers; or (c) allowed no-communication prior to submitting offers. When parties are allowed pre-play communication, we find nearly full efficiency (98%). We examine two systematically predictable aspects of dyadic interaction - disclosure and reciprocity - to explain how negotiators achieve this efficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-34
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Behavioral Decision Making
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2003


  • Bargaining
  • Bilateral auctions
  • Communication
  • Coordination
  • Face-to-face
  • Honesty
  • Negotiation
  • Reciprocity
  • Written communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Decision Sciences
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Strategy and Management


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