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Measuring the effectiveness of competition in defense procurement: A survey of the empirical literature


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  • James J. Anton

    (Assistant Professor of Economics at the State University of New York, Stony Brook)

  • Dennis A. Yao

    (Assistant Professor of Public Policy and management at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania)


This article surveys the empirical literature that has attempted to measure the effects of competition in defense procurement. Its focus is on the conceptual underpinnings of the empirical models rather than on the technical aspects of the estimation procedures. While the empirical studies provide some valuable insight, the studies are flawed because they assume an implicit model of the procurement environment that is inconsistent with reasonable economic behavior on the part of defense contractors and seems to be contradicted by the evidence. In general, the predictive power of the empirical models is also limited by a program-by-program estimation approach in which only a handful of data points are available to estimate two or more parameters. These empirical models could be improved by the use of structural models that assume reasonable economic behavior and provide a theoretical basis for cross-program analyses.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

Volume (Year): 9 (1990)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 60-79

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Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:9:y:1990:i:1:p:60-79

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  1. Clarke, Frank H & Darrough, Masako N & Heineke, John M, 1982. "Optimal Pricing Policy in the Presence of Experience Effects," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(4), pages 517-30, October.
  2. Rob, Rafael, 1986. "The Design of Procurement Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 378-89, June.
  3. William B. Burnett, 1987. "Competition in the weapons acquisition process: The case of U.S. warplanes," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 7(1), pages 17-39.
  4. Willis R. Greer, Jr. & Shu S. Liao, 1986. "An Analysis of Risk and Return in the Defense Market: Its Impact on Weapon System Competition," Management Science, INFORMS, INFORMS, vol. 32(10), pages 1259-1273, October.
  5. Joel S. Demski & David E.M. Sappington & Pablo T. Spiller, 1987. "Managing Supplier Switching," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 18(1), pages 77-97, Spring.
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Cited by:
  1. Rajeev K. Goel, 1999. "On contracting for uncertain R&D," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(2), pages 99-106.
  2. William P. Rogerson, 1994. "Economic Incentives and the Defense Procurement Process," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 65-90, Fall.
  3. William E. Kovacic & Dennis E. Smallwood, 1994. "Competition Policy, Rivalries, and Defense Industry Consolidation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 91-110, Fall.
  4. Kozloff, Keith & Taff, Steven J., 1990. "Perspectives On Competitive Bidding: Retirement Of Environmentally Sensitive Farmland," Staff Papers, University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics 13822, University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics.
  5. Biglaiser, Gary & Vettas, Nikolaos, 2004. "Dynamic Price Competition with Capacity Constraints and Strategic Buyers," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 4315, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Thomas P. Lyon, 2000. "Competition and Technological Complexity in Procurement: An Empirical Study of Dual Sourcing," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers, Econometric Society 0420, Econometric Society.
  7. Michael Ian Cragg, 1995. "Performance Incentives in Government Subcontracting: Evidence from the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA)," Labor and Demography, EconWPA 9507001, EconWPA.


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