Pirates of the Mediterranean: An empirical investigation of bargaining with asymmetric information
Copyright © 2018 The Authors. 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.
Ambrus, A; Chaney, E; Salitskiy, I
Volume / Issue
Start / End Page
Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)
International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)