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Limited Liability and Mechanism Design in Procurement

Author

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  • Roberto Burguet
  • Juan-José Ganuza
  • Esther Hauk

Abstract

In the presence of cost uncertainty, limited liability introduces the possibility of default in procurement with its associated bankruptcy costs. When financial soundness is not perfectly observable, we show that incentive compatibility implies that financially less sound contractors are selected with higher probability in any feasible mechanism. Informational rents are associated with unsound financial situations. By selecting the financially weakest contractor, stronger price competition (auctions) may not only increase the probability of default but also expected rents. Thus, weak conditions are sufficient for auctions to be supoptimal. In particular, we show that pooling firms with higher assets may reduce the cost of procurement even when default is costless for the sponsor.

Suggested Citation

  • Roberto Burguet & Juan-José Ganuza & Esther Hauk, 2009. "Limited Liability and Mechanism Design in Procurement," Working Papers 383, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:383
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Zheng, Charles Z., 2001. "High Bids and Broke Winners," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 100(1), pages 129-171, September.
    2. Aleix Calveras & Juan-Jose Ganuza & Esther Hauk, 2004. "Wild Bids. Gambling for Resurrection in Procurement Contracts," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 41-68, July.
    3. Burguet, Roberto & Ganuza, Juan-José & Hauk, Esther, 2012. "Limited liability and mechanism design in procurement," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 15-25.
    4. Francesco Decarolis, 2009. "When the highest bidder loses the auction: theory and evidence from public procurement," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 717, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    5. Manelli, Alejandro M & Vincent, Daniel R, 1995. "Optimal Procurement Mechanisms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(3), pages 591-620, May.
    6. Waehrer Keith, 1995. "A Model of Auction Contracts with Liquidated Damages," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 531-555, December.
    7. Sarah Parlane, 2003. "Procurement Contracts under Limited Liability," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 34(1), pages 1-21.
    8. Simon Board, 2007. "Bidding into the Red: A Model of Post-Auction Bankruptcy," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 62(6), pages 2695-2723, December.
    9. Andreas R. Engel & Achim Wambach, 2006. "Public Procurement Under Limited Liability," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, vol. 96(1), pages 13-40, January-F.
    10. White, Michelle J, 1989. "The Corporate Bankruptcy Decision," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 129-151, Spring.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ottorino Chillemi & Claudio Mezzetti, 2014. "Optimal procurement mechanisms: bidding on price and damages for breach," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 55(2), pages 335-355, February.
    2. Kreiss, Jan & Ehrhart, Karl-Martin & Haufe, Marie-Christin, 2017. "Appropriate design of auctions for renewable energy support – Prequalifications and penalties," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 512-520.
    3. David Martimort & Stéphane Straub, 2016. "How To Design Infrastructure Contracts In A Warming World: A Critical Appraisal Of Public–Private Partnerships," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 57, pages 61-88, February.
    4. Marco Pagnozzi & Krista J. Saral, 2018. "Auctions with Limited Liability through Default or Resale," CSEF Working Papers 494, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    5. Burguet, Roberto & Ganuza, Juan-José & Hauk, Esther, 2012. "Limited liability and mechanism design in procurement," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 15-25.
    6. Laurent Lamy & Philippe Jehiel, 2016. "On the benefits of set-asides," Post-Print hal-01688231, HAL.
    7. Lorentziadis, Panos L., 2016. "Optimal bidding in auctions from a game theory perspective," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 248(2), pages 347-371.
    8. Wei-Shiun Chang & Timothy C. Salmon & Krista J. Saral, 2016. "Procurement Auctions With Renegotiation And Wealth Constraints," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 54(3), pages 1684-1704, July.
    9. Lorentziadis, Panos L., 2014. "Bidding under auctioneer default risk," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 123-133.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Procurement; limited liability; bankruptcy;

    JEL classification:

    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • H57 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Procurement
    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions

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