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Detecting Bidders Groups in Collusive Auctions

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  • Timothy G. Conley
  • Francesco Decarolis

Abstract

We study entry and bidding in procurement auctions where contracts are awarded to the bid closest to a trimmed average bid. These auctions, common in public procurement, create incentives to coordinate bids to manipulate the bid distribution. We present statistical tests to detect coordinated entry and bidding choices. The tests perform well in a validation dataset where a court case makes coordination observable. We use the tests to detect coordination in a larger dataset where it is suspected, but not known. The results are used to interpret a major market shakeout following a switch to first price auctions. (JEL D44, D47, H57, R42)

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy G. Conley & Francesco Decarolis, 2016. "Detecting Bidders Groups in Collusive Auctions," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 1-38, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmic:v:8:y:2016:i:2:p:1-38 Note: DOI: 10.1257/mic.20130254
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Alessandro Bucciol & Ottorino Chillemi & Giacomo Palazzi, 2011. "Cost Overrun and Auction Format in Public Works," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers 0129, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".
    2. Doraszelski, Ulrich & Seim, Katja & Sinkinson, Michael & Wang, Peichun, 2016. "Ownership Concentration and Strategic Supply Reduction," CEPR Discussion Papers 11173, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Stefano Galavotti & Luigi Moretti & Paola Valbonesi, 2014. "Sophisticated Bidders In Beauty-Contest Auctions," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers 0187, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".
    4. Decio Coviello & Andrea Guglielmo & Giancarlo Spagnolo, 2015. "The Effect of Discretion on Procurement Performance," CEIS Research Paper 361, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 17 Nov 2015.
    5. Bedri Kamil Onur Tas, 2017. "Collusion Detection in Public Procurement with Limited Information," Working Papers 1127, Economic Research Forum, revised 08 Oct 2017.
    6. Florencia M. Gabrielli, 2013. "Detecting Collusion on Highway Procurement," Económica, Departamento de Economía, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, pages 127-165.
    7. Sylvain Chassang & Juan Ortner, 2017. "Collusion in Auctions with Constrained Bids: Theory and Evidence from Public Procurement," Working Papers 072_2015, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Econometric Research Program..
    8. Francesco Decarolis, 2012. "Pricing and Incentives in Publicly Subsidized Health Care Markets: the Case of Medicare Part D," PIER Working Paper Archive 12-026, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
    9. Ulrich Doraszelski & Katja Seim & Michael Sinkinson & Peichun Wang, 2017. "Ownership Concentration and Strategic Supply Reduction," NBER Working Papers 23034, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Riccardo Camboni Marchi Adani & Paola Valbonesi, 2016. "Favouritism in scoring rule auctions," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers 0210, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".
    11. Francesco Decarolis & Giancarlo Spagnolo & Riccardo Pacini, 2016. "Past Performance and Procurement Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 22814, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • D47 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Market Design
    • H57 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Procurement
    • R42 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government and Private Investment Analysis; Road Maintenance; Transportation Planning

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