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When the highest bidder loses the auction: theory and evidence from public procurement

Listed author(s):
  • Francesco Decarolis

    ()

    (University of Chicago and Bank of Italy)

In this paper I study two methods often used in public procurement to deal with the risk that the winning bidder may default on his bid: augmenting the standard first price auction with an ex-post verification of the responsiveness of the bids and using an average bid auction. I show that when penalties for defaulting are asymmetric across bidders and when their valuations are characterized by a predominant common component, the average bid auction is preferred over the standard first price by an auctioneer when the costs due to the winner's bankruptcy are high enough. Depending on the cost of the ex-post verification, the average bid auction can be dominated by the first price with monitoring. I use a new dataset of Italian public procurement auctions, run alternately using a form of the average bid auction or the augmented first price, to structurally estimate the bids' verification cost, the firms' mark up and the inefficiency generated by the average bid auctions.

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File URL: http://www.bancaditalia.it/pubblicazioni/temi-discussione/2009/2009-0717/en_tema_717.pdf
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Paper provided by Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area in its series Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) with number 717.

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Date of creation: Jun 2009
Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_717_09
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  1. Emmanuel Guerre & Isabelle Perrigne & Quang Vuong, 2000. "Optimal Nonparametric Estimation of First-Price Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(3), pages 525-574, May.
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  3. Paarsch, Harry J., 1992. "Deciding between the common and private value paradigms in empirical models of auctions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1-2), pages 191-215.
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  12. Li, Tong & Perrigne, Isabelle & Vuong, Quang, 2000. "Conditionally independent private information in OCS wildcat auctions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 98(1), pages 129-161, September.
  13. Porter, Robert H & Zona, J Douglas, 1993. "Detection of Bid Rigging in Procurement Auctions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 518-538, June.
  14. Waehrer Keith, 1995. "A Model of Auction Contracts with Liquidated Damages," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 531-555, December.
  15. Elena Krasnokutskaya, 2004. "Identification and Estimation in Highway Procurement Auctions under Unobserved Auction Heterogeneity," PIER Working Paper Archive 05-006, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  16. Nagel, Rosemarie, 1995. "Unraveling in Guessing Games: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1313-1326, December.
  17. Rieko Ishii, 2007. "Collusion in Repeated Procurement Auction: a Study of Paving Market in Japan," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 07-16, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).
  18. Li, Tong & Vuong, Quang, 1998. "Nonparametric Estimation of the Measurement Error Model Using Multiple Indicators," Journal of Multivariate Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 139-165, May.
  19. Matthew Rhodes-Kropf & S. Viswanathan, 2005. "Financing Auction Bids," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(4), pages 789-815, Winter.
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  21. Spulber, Daniel F, 1990. "Auctions and Contract Enforcement," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(2), pages 325-344, Fall.
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