HKS Authors

See citation below for complete author information.

Co-Director, Center for Public Leadership
Co-Director, Women and Public Policy Program
Roy E. Larsen Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Management


Study explores implications of high aspirations for potential future cooperation with one’s negotiating counterpart. Participants were 134 undergraduate students acting as buyers or sellers in a price negotiation. Buyers were assigned more or less ambitious aspirations. Buyers with more ambitious aspirations negotiated a greater percentage of the surplus. Sellers paired with buyers with more ambitious aspirations were less satisfied with the negotiation outcome, found their negotiating counterparts to be less likeable, expressed less willingness to work with or do a favor for their negotiating counterparts, and were less generous toward their counterparts when allocating money in a post-negotiation decision exercise. Likeability of the buyer mediated the effect of buyer aspiration level on sellers’ satisfaction and willingness to cooperate in future.


Bowles, Hannah Riley, Linda Babcock, and Lei Lai. "Do You a Favor? Social Implications of High Aspirations in Negotiation." KSG Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP04-033, August 2004.