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Procurement when price and quality matter

  • John Asker
  • Estelle Cantillon

A buyer seeks to procure a good characterized by its price and its quality from suppliers who have private information about their cost structure (fixed cost and marginal cost of providing quality). We characterize the buyer's optimal buying mechanism. We then use the optimal mechanism as a theoretical and numerical benchmark to study simpler buying procedures such as scoring auctions and bargaining. Scoring auctions can extract a significant proportion of the buyer's strategic surplus (the difference between the expected utility from the optimal mechanism and the efficient auction). Bargaining does less well and often does worse than the efficient auction. Copyright (c) 2010, RAND.

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Article provided by RAND Corporation in its journal The RAND Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 41 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 1-34

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Handle: RePEc:bla:randje:v:41:y:2010:i:1:p:1-34
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  1. Armstrong, Mark, 1996. "Multiproduct Nonlinear Pricing," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(1), pages 51-75, January.
  2. Jehiel, Philippe & Moldovanu, Benny & Stacchetti, Ennio, 1999. "Multidimensional Mechanism Design for Auctions with Externalities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 258-293, April.
  3. Armstrong, Mark, 2000. "Optimal Multi-object Auctions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(3), pages 455-81, July.
  4. Yeon-Koo Che, 1993. "Design Competition through Multidimensional Auctions," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 24(4), pages 668-680, Winter.
  5. Asker, John & Cantillon, Estelle, 2004. "Properties of Scoring Auctions," CEPR Discussion Papers 4734, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1987. "Auctioning Incentive Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(5), pages 921-37, October.
  7. Bajari, Patrick & Tadelis, Steven, 2001. "Incentives versus Transaction Costs: A Theory of Procurement Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(3), pages 387-407, Autumn.
  8. Fernando Branco, 1997. "The Design of Multidimensional Auctions," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 28(1), pages 63-81, Spring.
  9. Mathias Dewatripont & Lars Peter Hansen & Stephen Turnovsky, 2003. "Advances in economics and econometrics: the eighth world congress," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9557, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  10. Wilson, Robert, 1997. "Nonlinear Pricing," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195115826.
  11. Steven Tadelis, 2009. "Auctions Versus Negotiations in Procurement: An Empirical Analysis," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(2), pages 372-399, October.
  12. Yeon-Koo Che & Ian Gale, 2000. "Optimal Design of Research Contests," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1784, Econometric Society.
  13. Dasgupta, Sudipto & Spulber, Daniel F., 1989. "Managing procurement auctions," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 5-29.
  14. Bulow, Jeremy & Klemperer, Paul, 1996. "Auctions versus Negotiations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 180-94, March.
  15. Manelli, Alejandro M & Vincent, Daniel R, 1995. "Optimal Procurement Mechanisms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(3), pages 591-620, May.
  16. Manelli, Alejandro M. & Vincent, Daniel R., 2007. "Multidimensional mechanism design: Revenue maximization and the multiple-good monopoly," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 137(1), pages 153-185, November.
  17. Wang, Gyu Ho, 1998. "Bargaining over a Menu of Wage Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(2), pages 295-305, April.
  18. Asker, John & Cantillon, Estelle, 2005. "Optimal Procurement When Both Price and Quality Matter," CEPR Discussion Papers 5276, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  19. Klein, Benjamin & Leffler, Keith B, 1981. "The Role of Market Forces in Assuring Contractual Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 615-41, August.
  20. Ganuza, Juan-Jose & Pechlivanos, Lambros, 2000. "Heterogeneity-promoting optimal procurement," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 105-112, April.
  21. repec:ste:nystbu:06-22 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. Border, Kim C, 1991. "Implementation of Reduced Form Auctions: A Geometric Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(4), pages 1175-87, July.
  23. Taylor, Curtis R, 1993. "Delivery-Contingent Contracts for Research," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(1), pages 188-203, April.
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