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Efficiency vs Optimality in Procurement

  • Peter Postl

We study procurement procedures that simultaneously determine specification and price of a good. Suppliers can offer and produce the good in either 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 received two signals about production cost, one per specification. Our model is a special case of the interdependent-value settings with multi-dimensional types in Jehiel and Moldovanu (2001) where an efficient and incentive compatible mechanism exists. We characterize equilibrium bidding behaviour if the winning supplier is selected purely on the basis of price, regardless of the specification offered. While there is a positive chance of obtaining an inefficient specification, this procurement mechanism involves lower information rents than efficient mechanisms, suggesting that there is at trade-off between minimizing expected expenditure for the good, and ensuring that the efficient specification is chosen.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Birmingham in its series Discussion Papers with number 11-03r.

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Length: 51 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bir:birmec:11-03r
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  1. Philippe Jehiel & Benny Moldovanu, 1998. "Efficient Design with Interdependent Valuations," Discussion Papers 1244, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. Jean-Charles Rochet & Philippe Chone, 1998. "Ironing, Sweeping, and Multidimensional Screening," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(4), pages 783-826, July.
  3. Vijay Krishna & Motty Perry, 1997. "Efficient Mechanism Design," Game Theory and Information 9703010, EconWPA, revised 28 Apr 1998.
  4. Milgrom,Paul, 2004. "Putting Auction Theory to Work," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521551847, November.
  5. John Asker & Estelle Cantillon, 2008. "Properties of Scoring Auctions," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/172674, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  6. Athey, S., 1997. "Sigle Crossing Properties and the Existence of Pure Strategy Equilibria in Games of Incomplete Information," Working papers 97-11, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. John Asker & Estelle Cantillon, 2010. "Procurement when Price and Quality Matter," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/99378, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  8. Ewerhart, Christian & Fieseler, Karsten, 2003. " Procurement Auctions and Unit-Price Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(3), pages 569-81, Autumn.
  9. Armstrong, Mark, 1996. "Multiproduct Nonlinear Pricing," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(1), pages 51-75, January.
  10. Moldovanu, Benny & Jehiel, Philippe & Stacchetti, Ennio, 1997. "Multidimensional Mechanism Design for Auctions with Externalities," Papers 97-04, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.
  11. 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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