.ISSN (e) 1759-7331
(print) 1759-7323
Quantitative Economics
An open-access journal in quantitative economics
Journal of the
Econometric Society
Font Size:  Small  Medium  Large

Quantitative Economics, Volume 9, Issue 1 (March 2018)

Pirates of the Mediterranean: An empirical investigation of bargaining with asymmetric information

Attila Ambrus, Eric Chaney, Igor Salitskiy


We investigate the effect of delay on prices in bargaining situations using a data set containing thousands of captives ransomed from Barbary pirates between 1575 and 1692. Plausibly exogenous variation in the delay in ransoming provides evidence that negotiating delays decreased the size of ransom payments, and that much of the effect stems from the signalling value of strategic delay, in accordance with theoretical predictions. We also structurally estimate a version of the screening type bargaining model, adjusted to our context, and find that the model fits both the observed prices and acceptance probabilities well.

Bargaining piracy ransom D23 K42 N45

Full Text: Print View Print (Supplement) View (Supplement) Supplementary code PDF (Print)