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Public Markets Tailored for the Cartel- Favoritism in Procurement Auctions

  • Ariane Lambert Mogiliansky

    ()

    (Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques)

  • Grigory Kosenok

    ()

    (NES)

In this paper, we investigate interaction between two firms engaged in a repeated procurement relationship modelled as a multiple criteria auction, and an auctioneer (a government employee) who has discretion in devising the selection criteria. A first result is that, in a one-shot context, favoritism turns the asymmetric information (private cost) procurement auction into a symmetric information auction (in bribes) for a common value prize. In a repeated setting we show that favoritism increases the gains from collusion and contributes to solving basic implementation problems for a cartel of bidders that operates in a stochastically changing environment. A most simple allocation rule where firms take turn in winning independently of stochastic government preferences and firms’ costs is optimal. In each period the selection criteria is fine-tailored to the in-turn winner: the "environment” adapts to the cartel. This result holds true when the expected punishment is a fixed cost. When the cost varies with the magnitude of the distortion of the selection criteria (compared with the true government’s preferences), favoritism only partially shades the cartel from the environment. Nevertheless, even in this case favoritism greatly simplifies matters for the cartel. We thus find that favoritism generally facilitates collusion at a high cost for society. Some policy implications of the analysis are suggested.

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Paper provided by Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR) in its series Working Papers with number w0074.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: May 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cfr:cefirw:w0074
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  1. Ariane Lambert-Mogiliansky & Konstantin Sonin, 2006. "Collusive Market Sharing and Corruption in Procurement," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(4), pages 883-908, December.
  2. Susan Athey & Kyle Bagwell & Chris Sanchirico, 2002. "Collusion and price rigidity," Discussion Papers 0102-38, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  3. Graham, Daniel A & Marshall, Robert C, 1987. "Collusive Bidder Behavior at Single-Object Second-Price and English Auctions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(6), pages 1217-39, December.
  4. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1991. "Auction design and favoritism," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 9-42, March.
  5. Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David I & Maskin, Eric, 1994. "The Folk Theorem with Imperfect Public Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(5), pages 997-1039, September.
  6. McAfee, R Preston & McMillan, John, 1992. "Bidding Rings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 579-99, June.
    • McAfee, R. Preston & McMillan, John., 1990. "Bidding Rings," Working Papers 726, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  7. Roberto Burguet & Yeon-Koo Che, 2004. "Competitive Procurement with Corruption," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 35(1), pages 50-68, Spring.
  8. Bernard Caillaud & Philippe Jehiel, 1998. "Collusion in Auctions with Externalities," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(4), pages 680-702, Winter.
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