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Bribery and Favoritism by Auctioneers in Sealed Bid Auctions

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Author Info

  • Roberto Burguet

    ()
    (Institute for Economic Analysis, Barcelona, Spain)

  • Martin Perry

    ()
    (Rutgers University)

Abstract

We consider a model of bribery and favoritism in a sealed-bid first-price procurement auction. The auctioneer can award the contract to a dishonest supplier at the low bid of an honest supplier. We examine the equilibrium bidding functions of both suppliers when it is common knowledge that the dishonest supplier can bribe the auctioneer. Both efficient and inefficient bribes can arise and the resulting allocative distortion differs from the distortions in a first-price auction or an optimal auction. The expected price paid by the buyer is generally higher with bribery, but when efficient bribes occur, there can be cases in which bribery results in a lower expected price. We also examine the incentives for cost-reducing investment by the suppliers and find that bribery results in a lower industry capacity than the social optimum. Finally, we examine upfront bribes in which the suppliers compete to be favored by the auctioneer and find that the stronger supplier will pay a larger bribe than the weaker supplier.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Rutgers University, Department of Economics in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 200205.

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Date of creation: 04 Apr 2002
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Handle: RePEc:rut:rutres:200205

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Keywords: auctions;

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  1. Waehrer, Keith, 1999. "Asymmetric private values auctions with application to joint bidding and mergers," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 437-452, April.
  2. Waehrer, Keith & Perry, Martin K, 2003. " The Effects of Mergers in Open-Auction Markets," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(2), pages 287-304, Summer.
  3. McAfee, R. Preston & McMillan, John, 1989. "Government procurement and international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3-4), pages 291-308, May.
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