IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

(Un)bundling infrastructure procurement: Evidence from water supply and sewage projects

  • Estache, Antonio
  • Iimi, Atsushi

Public infrastructure has long been faced with difficulty in financing. Available public resources are often limited in many countries. Competitive bidding in public procurement systems is an important instrument to contain the public investment costs. But competition is often limited in the infrastructure sector. In such circumstances, better public procurement design can save a lot of public resources. There is a general tradeoff between the competition effect and economies of scale and scope; large contracts can benefit from the scale and scope effects but have to compromise competition. The unbundling approach can foster competition but may suffer from diseconomies of scale and scope. Using procurement data from water supply and sewage projects in developing countries, the paper analyzes the effects of the (un)bundling strategy on bidders' entry and bidding behavior. It shows that the bidder cost structure exhibits significant diseconomies of scope between two main public works in this sector, i.e., treatment plant construction and distribution network installation. There is no clear evidence of the competition effect. Therefore, there is no rationale of bundling these two works into a single contract. Unbundling can help governments to contain public infrastructure costs.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Utilities Policy.

Volume (Year): 19 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 104-114

in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:juipol:v:19:y:2011:i:2:p:104-114
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Paul Klemperer, 2001. "How (Not) to Run Auctions: The European 3G Telecom Auctions," Economics Series Working Papers 2002-W05, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  2. Dakshina G. De Silva & Timothy Dunne & Georgia Kosmopoulou, 2003. "An Empirical Analysis of Entrant and Incumbent Bidding in Road Construction Auctions," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 295-316, 09.
  3. Michael K. Price, 2008. "Using The Spatial Distribution Of Bidders To Detect Collusion In The Marketplace: Evidence From Timber Auctions," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(2), pages 399-417.
  4. Estache, Antonio & Iimi, Atsushi, 2009. "Bidders'entry and auctioneer's rejection : applying a double selection model to road procurement auctions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4855, The World Bank.
  5. Elmar WOLFSTETTER, 1994. "Auctions: An Introduction," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 1994,13, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  6. Patrick Bajari & Robert S. McMillan & Steve Tadelis, 2003. "Auctions Versus Negotiations in Procurement: An Empirical Analysis," NBER Working Papers 9757, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. J. Luis Guasch, 2004. "Granting and Renegotiating Infrastructure Concessions : Doing it Right," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15024.
  8. Paulo K. Monteiro & Flavio M. Menezes, 2000. "original papers : Auctions with endogenous participation," Review of Economic Design, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 71-89.
  9. Benjamin A. Olken, 2005. "Monitoring Corruption: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia," NBER Working Papers 11753, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Weninger, Quinn, 2003. "Estimating Multiproduct Costs when Some Outputs Are Not Produced," Staff General Research Papers 10830, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  11. Kaufmann, Daniel & Kraay, Aart & Mastruzzi, Massimo, 2009. "Governance matters VIII : aggregate and individual governance indicators 1996-2008," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4978, The World Bank.
  12. repec:att:wimass:9702 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Atsushi Iimi, 2006. "Auction Reforms for Effective Official Development Assistance," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 28(2), pages 109-128, 03.
  14. Srabana Gupta, 2002. "Competition and collusion in a government procurement auction market," Atlantic Economic Journal, International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 30(1), pages 13-25, March.
  15. Levin, Dan & Smith, James L, 1994. "Equilibrium in Auctions with Entry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 585-99, June.
  16. 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.
  17. Roberto Burguet & Yeon-Koo Che, 2004. "Competitive Procurement with Corruption," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 35(1), pages 50-68, Spring.
  18. Estache, Antonio & Iimi, Atsushi, 2008. "Procurement efficiency for infrastructure development and financial needs reassessed," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4662, The World Bank.
  19. Peter S. Heller, 2005. "Understanding Fiscal Space," IMF Policy Discussion Papers 05/4, International Monetary Fund.
  20. Palfrey, Thomas R, 1983. "Bundling Decisions by a Multiproduct Monopolist with Incomplete Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(2), pages 463-83, March.
  21. McAfee, R. Preston & McMillan, John, 1987. "Auctions with entry," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 343-347.
  22. Tong Li & Isabelle Perrigne, 2003. "Timber Sale Auctions with Random Reserve Prices," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(1), pages 189-200, February.
  23. De Silva, Dakshina G. & Dunne, Timothy & Kankanamge, Anuruddha & Kosmopoulou, Georgia, 2008. "The impact of public information on bidding in highway procurement auctions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 150-181, January.
  24. Omar Arias & Kevin F. Hallock & Walter Sosa Escudero, 1999. "Individual Heterogeneity in the Returns to Schooling: Instrumental Variables Quantile Regression using Twins Data," Department of Economics, Working Papers 016, Departamento de Economía, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  25. Hiroshi Ohashi, 2008. "Effects of Transparency in Procurement Practices on Government Expenditure: A Case Study of Municipal Public Works," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-548, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  26. Fay, Marianne & Yepes, Tito, 2003. "Investing in infrastructure : what is needed from 2000 to 2010?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3102, The World Bank.
  27. Robert H. Porter & J. Douglas Zona, 1992. "Detection of Bid Rigging in Procurement Auctions," NBER Working Papers 4013, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Kaufmann, Daniel & Kraay, Aart & Mastruzzi, Massimo, 2007. "Governance Matters VI: Aggregate and Individual Governance Indicators, 1996-2006," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4280, The World Bank.
  29. Chakraborty, Indranil, 2006. "Bundle and separate sales in auctions with entry," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 31-46, January.
  30. Kwoka, John E., 2002. "Vertical economies in electric power: evidence on integration and its alternatives," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 653-671, May.
  31. Paarsch, Harry J., 1997. "Deriving an estimate of the optimal reserve price: An application to British Columbian timber sales," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 333-357, June.
  32. Marion, Justin, 2007. "Are bid preferences benign? The effect of small business subsidies in highway procurement auctions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(7-8), pages 1591-1624, August.
  33. Paarsch, Harry J., 1992. "Deciding between the common and private value paradigms in empirical models of auctions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1-2), pages 191-215.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:juipol:v:19:y:2011:i:2:p:104-114. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.