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Procurement Auctions and Unit-Price Contracts

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  • Ewerhart, Christian
  • Fieseler, Karsten

Abstract

In competitive procurement auctions, bids often have the form of unit-price contracts (UPCs). We show that optimal bidding behavior in UPC auctions is typically nonmonotonic and therefore may lead to inefficient allocations. However, UPC auctions may still be desirable for the buyer when compared to efficient mechanisms such as the first-price auction. In a UPC auction, low types are subsidized, and the resulting stronger competition reduces the winning bidder's informational rent, which overcompensates the efficiency loss. Copyright 2003 by the RAND Corporation.

Suggested Citation

  • Ewerhart, Christian & Fieseler, Karsten, 2003. " Procurement Auctions and Unit-Price Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(3), pages 569-581, Autumn.
  • Handle: RePEc:rje:randje:v:34:y:2003:i:3:p:569-81
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Trajtenberg, Manuel, 1989. "The Welfare Analysis of Product Innovations, with an Application to Computed Tomography Scanners," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(2), pages 444-479, April.
    2. Austan Goolsbee & Amil Petrin, 2001. "The Consumer Gains from Direct Broadcast Satellites and the Competition with Cable Television," NBER Working Papers 8317, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jose Alcalde & Matthias Dahm, 2016. "Proportional payoffs in legislative bargaining with weighted voting: a characterization," Discussion Papers 2016-03, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    2. Nyström, Johan & Lind , Hans & Nilsson , Jan-Eric, 2014. "Degrees of freedom in road construction," Working papers in Transport Economics 2014:20, CTS - Centre for Transport Studies Stockholm (KTH and VTI).
    3. Paul H. Jensen & Robin E. Stonecash, 2005. "Contract Efficiency in the Presence of Demand and Cost Uncertainty," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2005n01, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    4. Alcalde, José & Dahm, Matthias, 2013. "Competition for procurement shares," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 193-208.
    5. Sander Renes, 2011. "Balancing the Bids, Solutions for Unit Price Auctions," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-047/1, Tinbergen Institute.
    6. De Silva, Dakshina G. & Dunne, Timothy & Kosmopoulou, Georgia & Lamarche, Carlos, 2015. "Project modifications and bidding in highway procurement auctions," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2015-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    7. Peter Postl, 2011. "Efficiency vs Optimality in Procurement," Discussion Papers 11-03r, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
    8. John Asker & Estelle Cantillon, 2008. "Properties of scoring auctions," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(1), pages 69-85.
    9. Aloisio Araujo & Luciano Castro & Humberto Moreira, 2008. "Non-monotoniticies and the all-pay auction tie-breaking rule," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), pages 407-440.
    10. Moreira, Humberto Ataíde & Araújo, Aloísio Pessoa de & Castro Filho, Luciano I. de, 2004. "Pure strategy equilibria of multidimensional and non-monotonic auctions," FGV/EPGE Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 571, FGV/EPGE - Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
    11. Nyström, Johan & Nilsson, Jan-Eric & Lind, Hans, 2016. "Degrees of freedom and innovations in construction contracts," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 119-126.
    12. Missbauer, Hubert & Hauber, Wolfgang, 2006. "Bid calculation for construction projects: Regulations and incentive effects of unit price contracts," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 171(3), pages 1005-1019, June.
    13. Alcalde, Jose & Dahm, Mathias, 2016. "Dual Sourcing with Price Discovery," QM&ET Working Papers 16-1, University of Alicante, D. Quantitative Methods and Economic Theory.
    14. Dahm, Matthias & Esteve, Patrícia,, 2013. "Affirmative Action through Extra Prizes," Working Papers 2072/222197, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Department of Economics.
    15. Peter Postl, 2013. "Efficiency versus optimality in procurement," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), pages 425-472.
    16. Mandell, Svante & Nyström, Johan, 2011. "Why are bids not more unbalanced?," Working papers in Transport Economics 2011:13, CTS - Centre for Transport Studies Stockholm (KTH and VTI).

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