When and why does haggling occur?


Abstract
We present a computational simulation which captures aspects of negotiation as the interaction of agents searching for an agreement over their own mental model. Specifically this simulation relates the beliefs of each agent about the action of cause and effect to the resulting negotiation dialogue. The model highlights the difference between negotiating to find any solution and negotiating to obtain the best solution from the point of view of each agent. The later case corresponds most closely to what is commonly called “haggling”. This approach also highlights the importance of what each agent thinks is possible in terms of actions causing changes and in what the other agents are able to do in any situation. This simulation greatly extends other simulations of bargaining which usually only focus on the case of haggling over a limited number of numerical indexes. Three detailed examples are considered. The simulation framework is relatively well suited for participatory methods of elicitation since the “nodes and arrows” representation of beliefs is commonly used and thus to be accessible to stakeholders and domain experts.
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