The Role of Arbitrator Uncertainty in Negotiation Impasses

Authors

  • LINDA C. BABCOCK,

  • LOWELL J. TAYLOR

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    • *H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management, Carnegie Mellon University. The authors wish to thank Gregory Del'Omo for the use of his experimental data, and Craig Olson for suggestions on measuring uncertainty.


Abstract

This article utilizes a unique data set to explore whether uncertainty about arbitration influences the likelihood that negotiators will use it. We use experimental data on decisions made by arbitrators in hypothetical scenarios to calculate a measure of uncertainty for each arbitrator. These data are matched to field data on contract negotiations involving this same set of arbitrators. We find that the greater the uncertainty about the arbitrator, the lower the probability of impasse.

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