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The First Step is Always the Hardest: Barriers to Initiating Negotiations are not the Exception but the Norm

The benefits of negotiating are well documented. However, personal experience and market trends tell us that many people choose not to negotiate when given the opportunity. We believe that this behavior is not a small segment of society but rather a shocking majority. In this nascent project, we use 4 pilot studies to begin a discussion about why individuals avoid negotiating. Study 1 suggests that 96% of individuals sometimes choose not to negotiate and that they make this decision a majority of the time. Study 2a shows that when deciding whether to negotiate, individuals care more about saving a percent of the price than an actual dollar amount. Study 2b shows that approximately 50% of individuals would pay a premium to avoid negotiating—up to about 35% of the asking price of an item. Finally, Study 3 explores the most common reasons individuals report for avoiding negotiation.

David Hunsaker
NYU Shanghai

Hong Zhang
Leuphana University

Alice Lee
United States


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