Bargaining as a Struggle Between Competing Attempts at Commitment

Rohan Dutta, McGill University

The strategic importance of commitment in bargaining is widely acknowledged. Yet disentangling its role from key features of canonical models, such as proposal power and reputational concerns, is difficult. This paper introduces a model of bargaining with strategic commitment at its core. Following Schelling (1956), commitment ability stems from the costly nature of concession and is endogenously determined by players’ demands. Agreement is immediate for familiar bargainers, modelled via renegotiation-proofness. The unique prediction at the high concession cost limit provides a strategic foundation for the Kalai bargaining solution. Equilibria with delay feature a form of gradualism in demands.