Final-Offer Arbitration: A Look at Multi-Issue and Multi-Player Extensions

mathematical modeling of final-offer arbitration

When negotiations stall, the threat of a mutually expensive strike often motivates parties to make concessions. But when a strike is impossible or illegal, final-offer arbitration—where the judge must side with one party — can be an effective motivator. The tradeoff between making a more moderate offer to appeal to the judge and remaining stubborn to maximize one’s potential win can be analyzed by modeling the conflict as a two-person game.

With some background in game theory (e.g. the minimax theorem, Nash equilibrium) Brian Powers, a postdoctoral research associate in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, will look at the Brams-Merrill model of final-offer arbitration and the surprising and somewhat paradoxical result: playing optimally simultaneously prevents and promotes agreement. He will then explore more recent work extending this game to the multi-issue setting, the non-zero sum setting and the multi-player case. Throughout, he'll share how a geometric interpretation of the problem facilitates understanding of the best strategy.

The colloquium will be held from 3 to 4 p.m. Oct. 11, in Santan Hall, room 135, on ASU's Polytechnic campus.

Powers’ current research is focused on modeling fisheries and researching the application of game theory to problems of law and justice, examining game theoretic models of arbitration, discrimination-free jury selection mechanisms, empathy in competitive games, social network anti-coordination, and predator-prey relationships, as well as budgeted supervised learning algorithms. 

His work has been published in The International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence and The Symposium for Algorithmic Game Theory.

Powers holds a doctorate in game theory from the University of Illinois at Chicago.  

All sessions in the Science and Mathematics Colloquium Series, organized by ASU's College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, are free and open to the public. The series features invited speakers who share their current pursuits in research and education in the areas of biology, physics, chemistry, and mathematics.

Faculty of Science and Mathematics
Steve Saul
Part of the Science and Mathematics Colloquium Series
Wed., Oct. 11, 3-4 p.m.
Santan Hall, room 135
Polytechnic campus

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