Econometrica: May, 1982, Volume 50, Issue 3
Risk Aversion and Nash's Solution for Bargaining Games with Risky Outcomes
Alvin E. Roth, Uriel G. Rothblum
Recent results have shown that, for bargaining over the distribution of commodities, or other riskless outcomes, Nash's solution predicts that risk aversion is a disadvantage in bargaining. Here we consider bargaining games which may concern risky outcomes as well as riskless outcomes, and we demonstrate that, in such games, risk aversion need not always be a disadvantage in bargaining. Intuitively, for bargaining games in which potential agreements involve lotteries which have a positive probability of leaving one of the players worse off than if a disagreement had occurred, the more risk averse a player, the better the terms of the agreement which had occurred, the more risk averse a player, the better the terms of agreeement which he must be offered in order to induce him to reach an agreement, and to compensate him for the risk involved. For bargaining games whose disagreement outcome involves no uncertainty, we characterize when risk aversion is advantageous, disadvantageous, or irrelevant from the point of view of Nash's solution.