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The Contractors' Game

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  • Kevin Lang
  • Robert W. Rosenthal

Abstract

We develop a symmetric-information auction model of multiproject contracting with costly bidding and increasing marginal performance costs. When there are many potential contractors or only one job, there is a zero-expected-profit symmetric equilibrium in mixed strategies. The winning bid at this equilibrium tends to rise (perversely) with the number of contractors. When there are only two potential bidders and either two or three jobs, multiple bids of a contractor at equilibrium are negatively correlated with each other. The resulting equilibrium outcome tends to divide the market between the contractors in a manner that suggests anticompetitive behavior despite the absence of any collusion.

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin Lang & Robert W. Rosenthal, 1991. "The Contractors' Game," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(3), pages 329-338, Autumn.
  • Handle: RePEc:rje:randje:v:22:y:1991:i:autumn:p:329-338
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    Cited by:

    1. Randall D. Cebul & James B. Rebitzer & Lowell J. Taylor & Mark E. Votruba, 2011. "Unhealthy Insurance Markets: Search Frictions and the Cost and Quality of Health Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 1842-1871, August.
    2. Israel J. Hernández & Elena Huergo Orejas, 2004. "Entrada y Competencia en los Servicios de Telecomunicaciones," Documentos de Trabajo del ICAE 0404, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, Instituto Complutense de Análisis Económico.
    3. repec:eee:jeborg:v:149:y:2018:i:c:p:269-293 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Maarten C.W. Janssen & Eric Rasmusen, 1998. "Bertrand Competition under Uncertainty," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 98-083/1, Tinbergen Institute.
    5. Angeles de Frutos, Maria & Rosenthal, Robert W., 1998. "On Some Myths about Sequenced Common-Value Auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 201-221, May.
    6. Cramton, Peter C, 1995. "Money Out of Thin Air: The Nationwide Narrowband PCS Auction," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(2), pages 267-343, Summer.
    7. Charles J. Thomas, 2010. "INFORMATION REVELATION AND BUYER PROFITS IN REPEATED PROCUREMENT COMPETITION -super-," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(1), pages 79-105, March.
    8. David Gaddis Ross, 2012. "On Evaluation Costs in Strategic Factor Markets: The Implications for Competition and Organizational Design," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(4), pages 791-804, April.
    9. Thomas, Charles J., 2018. "An alternating-offers model of multilateral negotiations," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 149(C), pages 269-293.

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