The pernicious role of asymmetric history in negotiations

L. Dezso, G. Loewenstein, J. Steinhart, Gabor Neszveda, B. Szaszi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


The role of history in negotiations is a double-edged sword. Although parties can develop trust over time, there are also countless examples of protracted feuds that developed as a result of conflicting interpretations and invocations of history. We propose that, due to biased invocations of the past, history is likely to play a pernicious role in negotiations – particularly when given an asymmetric history in which one party benefited at the expense of the other. We test this prediction in two, two-stage experiments. We find that asymmetric history in a first stage leads to increased impasses in a second stage, but that this effect holds only when the second stage pairs the same two parties who shared the asymmetric history in the first.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)430-438
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior & Organization
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015



  • negotiation
  • bargaining impasse
  • compensation

Cite this

Dezso, L., Loewenstein, G., Steinhart, J., Neszveda, G., & Szaszi, B. (2015). The pernicious role of asymmetric history in negotiations. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 116, 430-438.