Discussion paper

DP13417 Does pre-play social interaction improve negotiation outcomes?

We study experimentally the impact of pre-play social interactions on negotiations. These
interactions are often complex. Thus, we attempt to isolate the impact of several of its more
common components: conversations, food, and beverages, which could be alcoholic or nonalcoholic.
To do this, our subjects take part in a standardized negotiation (complex and simple)
under six conditions: without interaction, interaction only, and interactions with water, wine,
water and food and wine and food. We find that none of the treatments improve the outcomes
over the treatment without interactions. We also study trust and reciprocity in the same context.
For all-male groups, we find the same lack of superiority of interaction treatments over no
interaction. For all-female groups, some very simple social interactions have a positive impact on


Cabrales, A, P Brañas, G Mateu, A Sánchez and A Sutan (2018), ‘DP13417 Does pre-play social interaction improve negotiation outcomes?‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 13417. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp13417