LEAP workshop

January 13, 2023 | 11:00AM
Cobb 304

LEAP is meeting *this Friday* (Jan 13) at 11 am (CT), and we have Mourad Heddaya (UChicago) as our first speaker of the quarter. Mourad will be talking to us about “Language of Bargaining.” We will have a hybrid meeting as before, so please feel free to join over Zoom or in person. This quarter LEAP will be meeting in Cobb (Room 304).

Date/Time: Jan 13, 11:00 am - 12:20 pm (Central Time)

Location: Cobb 304 | Zoom (click here to join)

Presenter: Mourad Heddaya (PhD Student, Computer Science, UChicago)

Title: Language of Bargaining

Abstract: Bilateral bargaining dates back millennia and directs substantial amounts of modern economic trade. Generally speaking, the activity involves two interested parties communicating with one another over issues of concern. And yet, there is scarce research on how natural language actively structures these negotiations. For example, are there linguistic elements that are reliably associated with success? In this research, we investigate the natural language of bilateral bargaining in a controlled experimental setting. In this environment, subjects bargain over the price of a house for sale. Parties share some common information (e.g., prices of comparable houses) but also some private information (e.g., the maximum the buyer is willing to pay). The treatment in the experiment is the manner in which subjects communicate: either through alternating, written numeric offers  or unstructured, verbal communication. Despite the two contrasting forms of communication, we find that the average agreed prices of the two treatments are virtually identical. But the likelihood of reaching agreement rises significantly under the open communication treatment. When subjects can talk, fewer offers are exchanged, negotiations finish faster, and the variance of possible prices that subjects agree drops substantially. Preliminary evidence suggests that buyers are more successful (i.e., negotiate a lower price) when they are less polite to sellers, are more emotionally distant in their language, talk more about their personal situation and budget, and exhibit more confidence. On the other hand, sellers are more successful (i.e., negotiate a higher price) when they are more polite to buyers, talk more about the house characteristics, use more social words like “we,” and hedge less in their language. We further investigate how language affects the trajectory of offers and whether can develop an algorithm that can predict the likelihood of either party succeeding.



Future events this quarter:

- Jan 27: Marie-Catherine de Marneffe (OSU)

- Feb 10 (date subject to change): TBD

- Feb 24: Aurora Martinez del Rio (UChicago)


Please check the LEAP website for future events. To join the LEAP mailing list: https://lists.uchicago.edu/web/info/langpsych


We look forward to seeing you all this week!