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Efficiency vs Optimality in Procurement

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  • Peter Postl

Abstract

We study procurement procedures that simultaneously determine specification and price of the required good. Two suppliers can each produce the good in any one of two possible specifications, both of which are equally good for the buyer. Production costs are interdependent and unknown at the time of bidding. Each supplier receives two signals about production cost, one per specification. Our model is a special case of the interdependent-value settings with multi-dimentional types in Jehiel and Moldovanu (2001) in which an efficient and incentive compatible mechanism exists. In this setting, we characterize supplier bidding behavior if the winning supplier is selected purely on the basis of price, and irrespective of the specification offered. While there is a strictly positive chance of obtaining an inefficient specification, this procurement mechanism involves lower information rents than efficient mechanisms, suggesting that there is a trade-off between minimizing expected expenditure for the good, and ensuring that the efficient specification is chosen.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Postl, 2011. "Efficiency vs Optimality in Procurement," Discussion Papers 11-03, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
  • Handle: RePEc:bir:birmec:11-03
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Armstrong, Mark, 1996. "Multiproduct Nonlinear Pricing," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(1), pages 51-75, January.
    2. Jehiel, Philippe & Moldovanu, Benny, 2001. "Efficient Design with Interdependent Valuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(5), pages 1237-1259, September.
    3. Milgrom,Paul, 2004. "Putting Auction Theory to Work," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521536721, May.
    4. 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.
    5. Jean-Charles Rochet & Philippe Chone, 1998. "Ironing, Sweeping, and Multidimensional Screening," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(4), pages 783-826, July.
    6. Vijay Krishna & Motty Perry, 1997. "Efficient Mechanism Design," Game Theory and Information 9703010, EconWPA, revised 28 Apr 1998.
    7. John Asker & Estelle Cantillon, 2010. "Procurement when price and quality matter," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 41(1), pages 1-34.
    8. John Asker & Estelle Cantillon, 2008. "Properties of scoring auctions," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(1), pages 69-85.
    9. Stephan Lauermann & Asher Wolinsky, 2016. "Search With Adverse Selection," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 84, pages 243-315, January.
    10. Athey, Susan, 2001. "Single Crossing Properties and the Existence of Pure Strategy Equilibria in Games of Incomplete Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(4), pages 861-889, July.
    11. Jehiel, Philippe & Moldovanu, Benny & Stacchetti, Ennio, 1999. "Multidimensional Mechanism Design for Auctions with Externalities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 258-293, April.
    12. Armstrong, Mark & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 1999. "Multi-dimensional screening:: A user's guide," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 959-979, April.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Procurement; interdependent valuations; multi-dimensional information; efficient mechanisms; optimal mechanisms;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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