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The Role of Repeated Interactions, Self-Enforcing Agreements and Relational [Sub]Contracting: Evidence from California Highway Procurement Auctions

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  • Gil, Ricard
  • Marion, Justin

Abstract

We examine the impact of relationships between contractors and subcontractors on firm pricing and entry decisions in the California highway procurement market using data from auctions conducted by the California Department of Transportation. Relationships in this market are valuable if they mitigate potential hold-up problems and incentives for ex post renegotiation due to contractual incompleteness. An important characteristic of informal contracts are that they must be self-enforcing, so that the value of relationships between firms and suppliers depend on the extent of possibilities for future interaction. We construct measures of the stock of contractors’ prior interactions with relevant subcontractors and find that a larger stock of relationships leads to lower bids and a greater likelihood of entry. Importantly, this relationship does not hold in periods of time and areas with little future contract volume, suggesting that the self-enforcement mechanism is crucial in providing value for informal contracts.

Suggested Citation

  • Gil, Ricard & Marion, Justin, 2009. "The Role of Repeated Interactions, Self-Enforcing Agreements and Relational [Sub]Contracting: Evidence from California Highway Procurement Auctions," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt7r14d10x, University of California Transportation Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:uctcwp:qt7r14d10x
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    Cited by:

    1. Stéphane Saussier & Carine Staropoli & Anne Yvrande-Billon, 2009. "Public–Private Agreements, Institutions, and Competition: When Economic Theory Meets Facts," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 35(1), pages 1-18, September.
    2. Gregory Lewis & Patrick Bajari, 2011. "Procurement Contracting With Time Incentives: Theory and Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(3), pages 1173-1211.
    3. Rocco Macchiavello & Ameet Morjaria, 2015. "The Value of Relationships: Evidence from a Supply Shock to Kenyan Rose Exports," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(9), pages 2911-2945, September.
    4. Gregory Lewis & Patrick Bajari, 2014. "Moral Hazard, Incentive Contracts, and Risk: Evidence from Procurement," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 81(3), pages 1201-1228.
    5. Jean-Baptiste Traversac & Hervé Lanotte, 2011. "An economic history of the Champagne contracts, lessons for regional development," ERSA conference papers ersa11p1145, European Regional Science Association.
    6. Luigi Moretti & Paola Valbonesi, 2012. "Subcontracting in Public Procurement: An Empirical Investigation," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers 0154, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".

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