Abstract and Keywords
This article demonstrates how the language used to describe a negotiation can influence the options that are admissible. It also argues that the content of communication frames the bargaining situation and thus can help predict bargaining behavior and final agreements. The possible role for communication in triggering fair outcomes varies with the presence or absence of private information. Communication induces bargaining frames that drive beliefs about how to behave and what to expect of others. Framing can be separated empirically from other mechanisms through which communication influences bargaining outcomes, including reputation effects, reciprocity, social identification across parties, and guilt aversion. The idea that nonbinding communication can affect whether a bargaining game comes to be viewed as a cooperative or competitive interaction, and that appropriately cooperative or competitive behavior will follow may appear to go outside the realm of economics.
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