Corvinus Game Theory Seminar

Apr. 18 (14:30-15:30), room C.714

Philipp Külpmann (Corvinus)

Title: Using Ambiguity in Negotiations: An Experimental Analysis

Abstract: This paper investigates whether ambiguity, if used strategically, can lead to better outcomes in negotiation and conflict situations. Our study explores the impact of strategic ambiguity in negotiations using a controlled laboratory experiment inspired by Greenberg’s (2000) negotiation game, where two countries decide between peace and war, with a third party potentially intervening on either side. Building on theories of Knightian uncertainty, this paper investigates whether ambiguity influences decision-making in conflict situations. Our experiment adapts Greenberg’s model by incorporating an Ellsberg urn, representing the third party’s ambiguous intervention strategy. This allows us to test the behavioral response to ambiguity, particularly when participants must choose between actions characterized by clear risks or inherent ambiguities. Preliminary results indicate that players often opt for ambiguous actions and react strategically to the potential of such actions. These findings have important implications for understanding how strategic ambiguity can be effectively employed in diplomatic and corporate negotiations.

The talk is based on joint work with Frank Riedel.