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THE CONSEQUENCES OF MISSED OPPORTUNITIES IN INTERNATIONAL DISPUTES: AN INACTION INERTIA ANALYSIS OF NEGOTIATION DEADLOCKS
To resolve political conflicts parties often turn to negotiations. Sometimes, however, the process fails to produce the desired outcomes. The current research focuses on deadlocks triggered by missed opportunities. The consequences of missed opportunities were studied extensively in psychology within the context of the inaction-inertia effect. Forgoing an attractive action opportunity creates vulnerability to regret and increases the likelihood of forgoing subsequent opportunities in the same action domain. By adopting a multi-step multi-issue dynamic decision task we extend the applicability of the inaction-inertia concept to the process of international negotiations. Using the new platform we demonstrate the classic inaction inertia effect in a political negotiation context. Having missed an attractive settlement offer, participants negotiated more rounds and were less likely to settle. We expect that the new methodology will help researchers and practitioners analyze and explain inertia induced deadlocks, and facilitate the development of interventions that expedite successful resolutions.