IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/inm/ormnsc/v58y2012i8p1458-1481.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Combinatorial Auctions for Procurement: An Empirical Study of the Chilean School Meals Auction

Author

Listed:
  • Marcelo Olivares

    (Columbia Business School, Columbia University, New York, New York 10027)

  • Gabriel Y. Weintraub

    (Columbia Business School, Columbia University, New York, New York 10027)

  • Rafael Epstein

    (Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Chile, 8370439 Santiago, Chile)

  • Daniel Yung

    (Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Chile, 8370439 Santiago, Chile)

Abstract

In this paper we conduct an empirical investigation of a large-scale combinatorial auction (CA)--the Chilean auction for school meals in which the government procures half a billion dollars worth of meal services every year. Our empirical study is motivated by two fundamental aspects in the design of CAs: (1) which packages should bidders be allowed to bid on and (2) diversifying the supplier base to promote competition. We use bidding data to uncover important aspects of the firms' cost structure and their strategic behavior, both of which are not directly observed by the auctioneer; these estimates inform the auction design. Our results indicate that package bidding that allows firms to express their cost synergies due to economies of scale and density seems appropriate. However, we also found evidence that firms can take advantage of this flexibility by discounting package bids for strategic reasons and not driven by cost synergies. Because this behavior can lead to inefficiencies, it may be worth evaluating whether to prohibit certain specific combinations in the bidding process. Our results also suggest that market share restrictions and running sequential auctions seem to promote competition in the long run, without significantly increasing the short-run cost for the government due to unrealized cost synergies. Our results highlight that the simultaneous consideration of the firms' operational cost structure and their strategic behavior is key to the successful design of a CA. More broadly, our paper is the first to provide an econometric study of a large-scale CA, providing novel and substantive insights regarding bidding behavior in this type of auction. This paper was accepted by Martin Lariviere, operations management.

Suggested Citation

  • Marcelo Olivares & Gabriel Y. Weintraub & Rafael Epstein & Daniel Yung, 2012. "Combinatorial Auctions for Procurement: An Empirical Study of the Chilean School Meals Auction," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(8), pages 1458-1481, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:58:y:2012:i:8:p:1458-1481
    DOI: 10.1287/mnsc.1110.1496
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1110.1496
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1287/mnsc.1110.1496?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Chernomaz, Kirill & Levin, Dan, 2012. "Efficiency and synergy in a multi-unit auction with and without package bidding: An experimental study," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 611-635.
    2. Hanming Fang & Peter Norman, 2006. "To bundle or not to bundle," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(4), pages 946-963, December.
    3. Anthony M. Kwasnica & John O. Ledyard & Dave Porter & Christine DeMartini, 2005. "A New and Improved Design for Multiobject Iterative Auctions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 51(3), pages 419-434, March.
    4. Paul Milgrom, 2000. "Putting Auction Theory to Work: The Simultaneous Ascending Auction," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(2), pages 245-272, April.
    5. Dimitris Kostamis & Damian R. Beil & Izak Duenyas, 2009. "Total-Cost Procurement Auctions: Impact of Suppliers' Cost Adjustments on Auction Format Choice," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(12), pages 1985-1999, December.
    6. Rosenthal, Robert W. & Wang, Ruqu, 1996. "Simultaneous Auctions with Synergies and Common Values," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 32-55, November.
    7. Bykowsky, Mark M & Cull, Robert J & Ledyard, John O, 2000. "Mutually Destructive Bidding: The FCC Auction Design Problem," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 205-228, May.
    8. Chenghuan Sean Chu & Phillip Leslie & Alan Sorensen, 2011. "Bundle-Size Pricing as an Approximation to Mixed Bundling," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(1), pages 263-303, February.
    9. Schmalensee, Richard, 1984. "Gaussian Demand and Commodity Bundling," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(1), pages 211-230, January.
    10. Kagel, John H. & Levin, Dan, 2005. "Multi-unit demand auctions with synergies: behavior in sealed-bid versus ascending-bid uniform-price auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 170-207, November.
    11. David Lucking-Reiley & John A. List, 2000. "Demand Reduction in Multiunit Auctions: Evidence from a Sportscard Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 961-972, September.
    12. Jérémie Gallien & Shobhit Gupta, 2007. "Temporary and Permanent Buyout Prices in Online Auctions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 53(5), pages 814-833, May.
    13. Salinger, Michael A, 1995. "A Graphical Analysis of Bundling," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 68(1), pages 85-98, January.
    14. Levin, Jonathan, 1997. "An Optimal Auction for Complements," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 176-192, February.
    15. Lawrence M. Ausubel & Peter Cramton & R. Preston McAfee & John McMillan, 1997. "Synergies in Wireless Telephony: Evidence from the Broadband PCS Auctions," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(3), pages 497-527, September.
    16. Rachel R. Chen & Robin O. Roundy & Rachel Q. Zhang & Ganesh Janakiraman, 2005. "Efficient Auction Mechanisms for Supply Chain Procurement," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 51(3), pages 467-482, March.
    17. Michael H. Rothkopf & Aleksandar Pekev{c} & Ronald M. Harstad, 1998. "Computationally Manageable Combinational Auctions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 44(8), pages 1131-1147, August.
    18. Thomas J. Holmes & Sanghoon Lee, 2012. "Economies of Density versus Natural Advantage: Crop Choice on the Back Forty," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(1), pages 1-19, February.
    19. Ali Hortaçsu & Steven L. Puller, 2008. "Understanding strategic bidding in multi‐unit auctions: a case study of the Texas electricity spot market," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(1), pages 86-114, March.
    20. Krishna, Vijay & Rosenthal, Robert W., 1996. "Simultaneous Auctions with Synergies," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 1-31, November.
    21. Yannis Bakos & Erik Brynjolfsson, 1999. "Bundling Information Goods: Pricing, Profits, and Efficiency," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 45(12), pages 1613-1630, December.
    22. repec:rje:randje:v:37:y:2006:i:4:p:946-963 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. Gérard P. Cachon & Fuqiang Zhang, 2006. "Procuring Fast Delivery: Sole Sourcing with Information Asymmetry," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(6), pages 881-896, June.
    24. Marshall Robert C. & Raiff Matthew E. & Richard Jean-Francois & Schulenberg Steven P., 2006. "The Impact of Delivery Synergies on Bidding in the Georgia School Milk Market," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 6(1), pages 1-51, February.
    25. Elena Katok & Alvin E. Roth, 2004. "Auctions of Homogeneous Goods with Increasing Returns: Experimental Comparison of Alternative "Dutch" Auctions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(8), pages 1044-1063, August.
    26. Armstrong, Mark & Porter, Robert, 2007. "Preface to the Handbook of Industrial Organization, Volume 3," Handbook of Industrial Organization, in: Mark Armstrong & Robert Porter (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 0, pages 00, Elsevier.
    27. R. Preston McAfee & John McMillan & Michael D. Whinston, 1989. "Multiproduct Monopoly, Commodity Bundling, and Correlation of Values," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(2), pages 371-383.
    28. Mark Armstrong & Robert Porter (ed.), 2007. "Handbook of Industrial Organization," Handbook of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 3, number 1, 00.
    29. Moreton, Patrick S & Spiller, Pablo T, 1998. "What's in the Air: Interlicense Synergies in the Federal Communications Commission's Broadband Personal Communication Service Spectrum Auctions," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 41(2), pages 677-716, October.
    30. Estelle Cantillon & Martin Pesendorfer, 2006. "Auctioning bus routes: the London experience," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9003, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    31. Wedad J. Elmaghraby, 2000. "Supply Contract Competition and Sourcing Policies," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 2(4), pages 350-371, April.
    32. Tunay I. Tunca & Stefanos A. Zenios, 2006. "Supply Auctions and Relational Contracts for Procurement," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 8(1), pages 43-67, February.
    33. William James Adams & Janet L. Yellen, 1976. "Commodity Bundling and the Burden of Monopoly," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 90(3), pages 475-498.
    34. Maréchal François & Morand Pierre-Henri, 2009. "Free Riding in Combinatorial First-Price Sealed-Bid Auctions," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-24, December.
    35. Douglas W. Caves & Laurits R. Christensen & Michael W. Tretheway, 1984. "Economies of Density versus Economies of Scale: Why Trunk and Local Service Airline Costs Differ," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(4), pages 471-489, Winter.
    36. repec:feb:framed:0052 is not listed on IDEAS
    37. Gregory Crawford, 2008. "The discriminatory incentives to bundle in the cable television industry," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 41-78, March.
    38. Wedad Elmaghraby, 2005. "The Effect of Asymmetric Bidder Size on an Auction's Performance: Are More Bidders Always Better?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 51(12), pages 1763-1776, December.
    39. Gandal, Neil, 1997. "Sequential Auctions of Interdependent Objects: Israeli Cable Television Licenses," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(3), pages 227-244, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Cave, Martin & Nicholls, Rob, 2017. "The use of spectrum auctions to attain multiple objectives: Policy implications," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(5), pages 367-378.
    2. Scott Duke Kominers & Alexander Teytelboym & Vincent P Crawford, 2017. "An invitation to market design," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(4), pages 541-571.
    3. Heczko, Alexander & Kittsteiner, Thomas & Ott, Marion, 2018. "The Performance of Core-Selecting Auctions: An Experiment," EconStor Preprints 176842, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    4. Sanjay L. Ahire & Pelin Pekgün, 2018. "Harvest Hope Food Bank Optimizes Its Promotional Strategy to Raise Donations Using Integer Programming," Interfaces, INFORMS, vol. 48(4), pages 291-306, August.
    5. Mansouri, Bahareh & Hassini, Elkafi, 2019. "Optimal pricing in iterative flexible combinatorial procurement auctions," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 277(3), pages 1083-1097.
    6. Riccardo Camboni Marchi Adani, 2018. "Procuring price and quality using scoring auctions: where do we stand?," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 45(1), pages 17-36, March.
    7. Romero Morales, Dolores & Steinberg, Richard, 2014. "Revenue deficiency under second-price auctions in a supply-chain setting," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 233(1), pages 131-144.
    8. Sang Won Kim & Marcelo Olivares & Gabriel Y. Weintraub, 2014. "Measuring the Performance of Large-Scale Combinatorial Auctions: A Structural Estimation Approach," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 60(5), pages 1180-1201, May.
    9. Riccardo Camboni Marchi Adani & Paola Valbonesi, 2016. "Favouritism in scoring rule auctions," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers 0210, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".
    10. Ott, Marion, 2019. "Simple Bayesian and Ex-Post Equilibria in Combinatorial Auctions," VfS Annual Conference 2019 (Leipzig): 30 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall - Democracy and Market Economy 203616, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    11. Kursad Derinkuyu & Fehmi Tanrisever & Nermin Kurt & Gokhan Ceyhan, 2020. "Optimizing Day-Ahead Electricity Market Prices: Increasing the Total Surplus for Energy Exchange Istanbul," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 22(4), pages 700-716, July.
    12. Kittsteiner, Thomas & Ott, Marion & Steinberg, Richard, 2017. "Competing Combinatorial Auctions," EconStor Preprints 171995, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    13. Ying Yao & Makoto Tanaka, 2016. "Price offers of pharmaceutical procurement in China: evidence from Guangdong province," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 17(5), pages 563-575, June.
    14. Kittsteiner, Thomas & Ott, Marion & Steinberg, Richard, 2021. "Competing Combinatorial Auctions," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Chernomaz, Kirill & Levin, Dan, 2012. "Efficiency and synergy in a multi-unit auction with and without package bidding: An experimental study," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 611-635.
    2. Goeree, Jacob K. & Lien, Yuanchuan, 2014. "An equilibrium analysis of the simultaneous ascending auction," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 153(C), pages 506-533.
    3. Cantillon, Estelle & Pesendorfer, Martin, 2007. "Combination Bidding in Multi-Unit Auctions," CEPR Discussion Papers 6083, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Anja Lambrecht & Katja Seim & Naufel Vilcassim & Amar Cheema & Yuxin Chen & Gregory Crawford & Kartik Hosanagar & Raghuram Iyengar & Oded Koenigsberg & Robin Lee & Eugenio Miravete & Ozge Sahin, 2012. "Price discrimination in service industries," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 423-438, June.
    5. Chen, Yongmin & Li, Jianpei, 2018. "Bundled procurement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 116-127.
    6. Min-Seok Pang & Hila Etzion, 2012. "Research Note --- Analyzing Pricing Strategies for Online Services with Network Effects," Information Systems Research, INFORMS, vol. 23(4), pages 1364-1377, December.
    7. Takanori Adachi & Takeshi Ebina & Makoto Hanazono, 2017. "Endogenous Product Boundary," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 85(1), pages 13-40, January.
    8. Peter Cramton, 2002. "Spectrum Auctions," Papers of Peter Cramton 01hte, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 16 Jul 2001.
    9. Ashutosh Prasad & R. Venkatesh & Vijay Mahajan, 2017. "Temporal product bundling with myopic and strategic consumers: Manifestations and relative effectiveness," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 341-368, December.
    10. Hemant K. Bhargava, 2012. "Retailer-Driven Product Bundling in a Distribution Channel," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 31(6), pages 1014-1021, November.
    11. Rustam Ibragimov & Johan Walden, 2010. "Optimal Bundling Strategies Under Heavy-Tailed Valuations," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(11), pages 1963-1976, November.
    12. Joao Macieira & Pedro Pereira & Joao Vareda, 2013. "Bundling Incentives in Markets with Product Complementarities: The Case of Triple-Play," Working Papers 13-15, NET Institute.
    13. Hanming Fang & Peter Norman, 2006. "To bundle or not to bundle," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(4), pages 946-963, December.
    14. Rustam Ibragimov, 2004. "Shifting paradigms: on the robustness of economic models to heavy-tailedness assumptions," Econometric Society 2004 Latin American Meetings 105, Econometric Society.
    15. Bronwyn E. Howell & Petrus H. Potgieter, 2018. "Bundles of trouble: Can competition law adapt to digital pricing innovation?," Competition and Regulation in Network Industries, , vol. 19(1-2), pages 3-24, March.
    16. Takanori Adachi & Takeshi Ebina & Makoto Hanazono, 2011. "Option Package Bundling," KIER Working Papers 785, Kyoto University, Institute of Economic Research.
    17. Kopczewski, Tomasz & Sobolewski, Maciej & Miernik, Ireneusz, 2018. "Bundling or unbundling? Integrated simulation model of optimal pricing strategies," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 204(C), pages 328-345.
    18. Chakravarty, A. & Mild, A. & Taudes, A., 2013. "Bundling decisions in supply chains," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 231(3), pages 617-630.
    19. Kuroda, Toshifumi, 2014. "Bundling information goods under 'breakeven' price," 20th ITS Biennial Conference, Rio de Janeiro 2014: The Net and the Internet - Emerging Markets and Policies 106869, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).
    20. Timothy Derdenger & Vineet Kumar, 2013. "The Dynamic Effects of Bundling as a Product Strategy," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 32(6), pages 827-859, November.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:58:y:2012:i:8:p:1458-1481. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/inforea.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Matthew Walls (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/inforea.html .

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.