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Procurement Policy and Contracting Efficiency


  • Bower, Anthony G


The contracting literature has emphasized the optimality of using certain contracting instruments, such as multiple cost observations, full commitment, self-selection, and competition. A two-period procurement model is constructed incorporating all of the instruments and optimal contracts are characterized. Numerical examples suggest that the marginal benefits of full commitment, self-selection, and multiple cost observations are small, while the benefits of competition are larger. To obtain some evidence on contracting costs, defense contracting is reviewed. It indicates that using these instruments is very costly, thus calling into question the optimality of using all of the procurement instruments. Copyright 1993 by Economics Department of the University of Pennsylvania and the Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Bower, Anthony G, 1993. "Procurement Policy and Contracting Efficiency," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 34(4), pages 873-901, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:ier:iecrev:v:34:y:1993:i:4:p:873-901

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Paul Milgrom & Sharon Oster, 1987. "Job Discrimination, Market Forces, and the Invisibility Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(3), pages 453-476.
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    3. Weiss, Andrew W, 1980. "Job Queues and Layoffs in Labor Markets with Flexible Wages," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(3), pages 526-538, June.
    4. Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Why is the Unemployment Rate So Very High near Full Employment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 17(2), pages 339-396.
    5. Lilien, David M, 1982. "Sectoral Shifts and Cyclical Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(4), pages 777-793, August.
    6. Rogerson, Richard, 1987. "An Equilibrium Model of Sectoral Reallocation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(4), pages 824-834, August.
    7. George A. Akerlof, 1970. "The Market for "Lemons": Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500.
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    Cited by:

    1. Skreta, Vasiliki, 2015. "Optimal auction design under non-commitment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 159(PB), pages 854-890.
    2. Philippe Gagnepain & Marc Ivaldi & David Martimort, 2013. "The Cost of Contract Renegotiation: Evidence from the Local Public Sector," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2352-2383, October.
    3. Leon Yang Chu & David E. M. Sappington, 2007. "Simple Cost-Sharing Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 419-428, March.
    4. Kopsakangas-Savolainen, Maria & Svento, Rauli, 2010. "Comparing welfare effects of different regulation schemes: An application to the electricity distribution industry," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(11), pages 7370-7377, November.
    5. repec:hal:psewpa:hal-00710639 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Fuqiang Zhang, 2010. "Procurement Mechanism Design in a Two-Echelon Inventory System with Price-Sensitive Demand," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 12(4), pages 608-626, August.
    7. Armstrong, Mark & Sappington, David E.M., 2007. "Recent Developments in the Theory of Regulation," Handbook of Industrial Organization, Elsevier.
    8. William P. Rogerson, 2003. "Simple Menus of Contracts in Cost-Based Procurement and Regulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 919-926, June.

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