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Detection of Bid Rigging in Procurement Auctions

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  • Robert H. Porter
  • J. Douglas Zona

Abstract

This paper examines bidding in auctions for state highway construction contracts on Long Island in the early 1980s, in order to determine whether bid rigging occurred. Detection of collusion is possible because of limited participation in the collusive scheme. The paper looks at differences in behavior between ring members and non-members. In these auctions, collusio did not take the form of a bid rotation scheme, in which only one ring member submits a bid. Instead, several ring members bid on most jobs. The apparent role of ring meetings prior to the auction was to designate a serious bidder, and its bid, and the other firms then frequently submitted phony higher bids. The bidding data indicate that the bids of non-cartel firms, as well as their rank distribution, were related to cost measures, such as how much backlog a firm was carrying. In contrast, the rank distribution of higher cartel bids was unrelated to similar cost measures, and differed from the distribution of the low cartel bid.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4013.

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Date of creation: Mar 1992
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Publication status: published as Journal of Political Economy, June 1993, vol. 101, no. 3 p. 518-538
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4013

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  1. Kenneth Hendricks & Robert Porter, 1989. "Collusion in Auctions," Discussion Papers 817, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. Feinstein, Jonathan S & Block, Michael K & Nold, Frederick C, 1985. "Asymmetric Information and Collusive Behavior in Auction Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 441-60, June.
  3. Beggs, S. & Cardell, S. & Hausman, J., 1981. "Assessing the potential demand for electric cars," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 1-19, September.
  4. John McMillan, 1991. "Dango: Japan'S Price-Fixing Conspiracies," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(3), pages 201-218, November.
  5. Hausman, Jerry A. & Ruud, Paul A., 1987. "Specifying and testing econometric models for rank-ordered data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1-2), pages 83-104.
  6. William S. Comanor & Mark A. Schankerman, 1976. "Identical Bids and Cartel Behavior," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 7(1), pages 281-286, Spring.
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