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Set-Asides and Subsidies in Auctions

Author

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  • Susan Athey
  • Dominic Coey
  • Jonathan Levin

Abstract

Set-asides and subsidies are used extensively in government procurement and resource sales. We analyze these policies in an empirical model of US Forest Service timber auctions. The model fits the data well both within the sample of unrestricted sales used for estimation, and when we predict (out-of-sample) outcomes for small business set-asides. Our estimates suggest that restricting entry substantially reduces efficiency and revenue, although it increases small business participation. An alternative policy of subsidizing small bidders would increase revenue and small bidder profit, with little efficiency cost. We explain these findings by connecting to the theory of optimal auction design. (JEL D44, H57, L73, Q23)

Suggested Citation

  • Susan Athey & Dominic Coey & Jonathan Levin, 2013. "Set-Asides and Subsidies in Auctions," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 1-27, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmic:v:5:y:2013:i:1:p:1-27
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/mic.5.1.1
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Emmanuel Guerre & Isabelle Perrigne & Quang Vuong, 2000. "Optimal Nonparametric Estimation of First-Price Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(3), pages 525-574, May.
    2. McAfee, R. Preston & McMillan, John, 1989. "Government procurement and international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3-4), pages 291-308, May.
    3. Philip A. Haile & Han Hong & Matthew Shum, 2003. "Nonparametric Tests for Common Values at First-Price Sealed-Bid Auctions," NBER Working Papers 10105, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Susan Athey & Jonathan Levin & Enrique Seira, 2004. "Comparing Open and Sealed Bid Auctions: Theory and Evidence from Timber Auctions," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000524, UCLA Department of Economics.
    5. Lance Brannman & Luke M. Froeb, 2000. "Mergers, Cartels, Set-Asides, and Bidding Preferences in Asymmetric Oral Auctions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(2), pages 283-290, May.
    6. Milgrom,Paul, 2004. "Putting Auction Theory to Work," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521551847.
    7. Tong Li, 2005. "Econometrics of first-price auctions with entry and binding reservation prices," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 126(1), pages 173-200, May.
    8. Philip A. Haile, 2001. "Auctions with Resale Markets: An Application to U.S. Forest Service Timber Sales," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 399-427, June.
    9. Susan Athey & Philip A. Haile, 2002. "Identification of Standard Auction Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(6), pages 2107-2140, November.
    10. Athey, Susan, 2001. "Single Crossing Properties and the Existence of Pure Strategy Equilibria in Games of Incomplete Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(4), pages 861-889, July.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jeffrey V. Butler & Enrica Carbone & Pierluigi Conzo & Giancarlo Spagnolo, 2012. "Reputation and Entry," EIEF Working Papers Series 1215, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Nov 2012.
    2. Georgia Kosmopoulou & Carlos Lamarche & Xueqi Zhou, 2016. "Price Adjustment Policies And Firm Size," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 54(2), pages 895-906, April.
    3. Laurent Lamy & Philippe Jehiel, 2016. "On the benefits of set-asides," Post-Print hal-01688231, HAL.
    4. Klenio Barbosa & Pierre C. Boyer, 2012. "Discrimination in Dynamic Procurement Design with Learning-by-doing," CESifo Working Paper Series 3947, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Vivek Bhattacharya & James W. Roberts & Andrew Sweeting, 2014. "Regulating bidder participation in auctions," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 45(4), pages 675-704, December.
    6. James W. Roberts & Andrew Sweeting, 2013. "When Should Sellers Use Auctions?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(5), pages 1830-1861, August.
    7. James W. Roberts & Andrew Sweeting, 2016. "Bailouts and the Preservation of Competition: The Case of the Federal Timber Contract Payment Modification Act," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 257-288, August.
    8. Rahul Deb & Mallesh Pai, 2013. "Symmetric Auctions," Working Papers tecipa-486, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
    9. Ari Hyytinen & Sofia Lundberg & Otto Toivanen, 2015. " Design of public procurement auctions: Evidence from cleaning contracts," Working Papers Department of Managerial Economics, Strategy and Innovation (MSI) 483670, KU Leuven, Faculty of Economics and Business, Department of Managerial Economics, Strategy and Innovation (MSI).
    10. Nakabayashi, Jun, 2013. "Small business set-asides in procurement auctions: An empirical analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 28-44.
    11. Dominic Coey & Bradley Larsen & Kane Sweeney, 2014. "The Bidder Exclusion Effect," NBER Working Papers 20523, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Daniel Garrett & Andrey Ordin & James W. Roberts & Juan Carlos Suárez Serrato, 2017. "Tax Advantages and Imperfect Competition in Auctions for Municipal Bonds," NBER Working Papers 23473, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Che, Yeon-Koo & Gale, Ian & Kim, Jinwoo, 2013. "Efficient assignment mechanisms for liquidity-constrained agents," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 659-665.
    14. Rosa, Benjamin, 2016. "Subcontracting Requirements and the Cost of Government Procurement," MPRA Paper 77392, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Manzano, Carolina & Vives, Xavier, 2016. "Market Power and Welfare in Asymmetric Divisible Good Auctions," CEPR Discussion Papers 11731, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    16. repec:the:publsh:1824 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Rosa, Benjamin, 2016. "Resident Bid Preference, Affiliation, and Procurement Competition: Evidence from New Mexico," MPRA Paper 68759, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. repec:bla:jomstd:v:54:y:2017:i:6:p:823-853 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Kirkegaard, René, 2013. "Handicaps in incomplete information all-pay auctions with a diverse set of bidders," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 98-110.
    20. Yosef Mealem & Shmuel Nitzan, 2016. "Discrimination in contests: a survey," Review of Economic Design, Springer;Society for Economic Design, vol. 20(2), pages 145-172, June.
    21. Brown, David, 2014. "The Effect of Subsidized Entry on Capacity Auctions and the Long-Run Resource Adequacy of Electricity Markets," Working Papers 2014-7, University of Alberta, Department of Economics.
    22. Jehiel, Philippe & Lamy, Laurent, 2014. "On discrimination in procurement auctions," CEPR Discussion Papers 9790, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    23. repec:eee:eneeco:v:70:y:2018:i:c:p:205-232 is not listed on IDEAS
    24. Gugler, Klaus & Weichselbaumer, Michael & Zulehner, Christine, 2015. "Competition in the economic crisis: Analysis of procurement auctions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 35-57.
    25. Sweeting, Andrew & Bhattacharya, Vivek, 2015. "Selective entry and auction design," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 189-207.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • H57 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Procurement
    • L73 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Primary Products and Construction - - - Forest Products
    • Q23 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Forestry

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