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Fine-Tailored for the Cartel-Favoritism in Procurement

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  • Ariane Lambert-Mogiliansky

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  • Grigory Kosenok

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Abstract

In this paper, we investigate the interaction between two firms, which are involved in a repeated procurement relationship modeled as a multiple criteria auction, and an auctioneer (a government employee) who has discretion in devising the selection criteria. Our main result is that favoritism substantially facilitates collusion. It increases the gains from collusion and contributes to solving basic implementation problems for a cartel of bidders operating in a stochastically changing environment. A most simple allocation rule where firms take turns in winning, independently of stochastic social preferences and firms' costs, achieves full cartel efficiency (including price, production, and design efficiency). In each period the selection criteria is fine-tailored to the in-turn winner: the "environment" adapts to the cartel. This result holds true when the expected punishment is a fixed cost. When the cost varies with the magnitude of the distortion of the selection criteria (compared to the true social preferences), favoritism only partially shelters the cartel from the environment. We thus find that favoritism generally facilitates collusion at a high cost for society. Our analysis suggests some anti-corruption measures that could be effective in curbing favoritism and collusion in public markets. It also suggests that the much-advocated rotation of officials is likely to be counter-productive.
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Suggested Citation

  • Ariane Lambert-Mogiliansky & Grigory Kosenok, 2009. "Fine-Tailored for the Cartel-Favoritism in Procurement," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 35(1), pages 95-121, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:revind:v:35:y:2009:i:1:p:95-121 DOI: 10.1007/s11151-009-9220-5
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Susan Athey & Kyle Bagwell & Chris Sanchirico, 2004. "Collusion and Price Rigidity," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(2), pages 317-349.
    2. Green, Edward J & Porter, Robert H, 1984. "Noncooperative Collusion under Imperfect Price Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(1), pages 87-100, January.
    3. Athey, Susan & Bagwell, Kyle, 2001. "Optimal Collusion with Private Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, pages 428-465.
    4. Ariane Lambert-Mogiliansky & Konstantin Sonin, 2006. "Collusive Market Sharing and Corruption in Procurement," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(4), pages 883-908, December.
    5. Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David I & Maskin, Eric, 1994. "The Folk Theorem with Imperfect Public Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(5), pages 997-1039, September.
    6. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1991. "Auction design and favoritism," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 9-42, March.
    7. Riley, John G, 1989. "Expected Revenue from Open and Sealed Bid Auctions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 41-50, Summer.
    8. Ariane Lambert-Mogiliansky & Konstantin Sonin, 2006. "Collusive Market Sharing and Corruption in Procurement," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(4), pages 883-908, December.
    9. Michihiro Kandori, 1992. "Social Norms and Community Enforcement," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(1), pages 63-80.
    10. Lambert-Mogiliansky, Ariane, 2002. "Why firms pay occasional bribes: the connection economy," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 47-60, March.
    11. Roy Radner & Roger Myerson & Eric Maskin, 1986. "An Example of a Repeated Partnership Game with Discounting and with Uniformly Inefficient Equilibria," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(1), pages 59-69.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Gustavo Piga, 2011. "A Fighting Chance Against Corruption in Public Procurement?," Chapters,in: International Handbook on the Economics of Corruption, Volume Two, chapter 5 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Koessler, Frédéric & Lambert-Mogiliansky, Ariane, 2013. "Committing to transparency to resist corruption," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, pages 117-126.
    3. repec:clh:resear:v:2:y:2009:i:5 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Marian Moszoro & Pablo T. Spiller & Sebastian Stolorz, 2015. "Rigidity of Public Contracts," NBER Working Papers 21186, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Auction; Collusion; Favoritism; Procurement; D44; D73; H57;

    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • H57 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Procurement

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