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Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 39, 12 (2013) 1547-1558
The first-offer effect demonstrates that negotiators achieve better outcomes when making the first offer than when receiving it. The evidence, however, primarily derives from studies of Westerners without systematic power differences negotiating over one issue—contexts that may amplify the first-offer effect. Thus, the present research explored the effect across cultures, among negotiators varying in power, and in negotiations involving single and multiple issues. The first two studies showed that the first-offer effect remains remarkably robust across cultures and multi-issue negotiations. The final two studies demonstrated that low-power negotiators benefit from making the first offer across single- and multi-issue negotiations. The second and fourth studies used multi-issue negotiations with distributive, integrative, and compatible issues, allowing us to show that first offers operate through the distributive, not the integrative or compatible issues. Overall, these results reveal that moving first can benefit negotiators across many organizational and personal situations.