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Snow Removal Auctions in Montreal: Costs, Informational Rents, and Procurement Management


  • Véronique Flambard
  • Pierre Lasserre
  • Pierre Mohnen


Using nonparametric estimation techniques adapted from Guerre et al. [2000], we infer cost distributions and informational rents, from 666 snow removal contracts offered for tender by the City of Montreal. Our results are compatible with standard received theory of competitive auctions: there is a positive correlation between costs and bids; rents increase with the variance of costs and decrease with the number of bidders. Bids and costs have decreased over the sample period, while informational rents remained stable. The City deserves credit for these results. It has succeeded in exploiting economies of scale while maintaining competition; and it was instrumental in promoting above Canadian average technological progress by its design of snow-removal territories. Par des méthodes non paramétriques adaptées de Guerre et al. [2000], nous évaluons la distribution des coûts et les rentes informationnelles correspondant à 666 contrats de déneigement mis aux enchères par la Ville de Montréal. Les résultats sont conformes à la théorie des enchères concurrentielles : corrélation positive entre soumissions et coûts; rentes croissantes avec la variance des coûts et décroissantes avec le nombre d'enchérisseurs. Tant les soumissions que les coûts diminuent au cours de la période, tandis que les rentes sont stables. Ces résultats sont à mettre au crédit de la Ville : elle a su exploiter les économies d'échelle sans réduire la concurrence, et susciter un progrès technologique plus élevé que la moyenne nationale grâce au découpage des territoires.

Suggested Citation

  • Véronique Flambard & Pierre Lasserre & Pierre Mohnen, 2004. "Snow Removal Auctions in Montreal: Costs, Informational Rents, and Procurement Management," CIRANO Working Papers 2004s-59, CIRANO.
  • Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:2004s-59

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Emmanuel Guerre & Isabelle Perrigne & Quang Vuong, 2000. "Optimal Nonparametric Estimation of First-Price Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(3), pages 525-574, May.
    2. Paarsch, Harry J., 1992. "Deciding between the common and private value paradigms in empirical models of auctions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1-2), pages 191-215.
    3. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Ossard, Herve & Vuong, Quang, 1995. "Econometrics of First-Price Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 953-980, July.
    4. Mireia Jofre-Bonet & Martin Pesendorfer, 2003. "Estimation of a Dynamic Auction Game," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(5), pages 1443-1489, September.
    5. Bernard Elyakime & Jean-Jacques Laffont & Patrice Loisel & Quang Vuong, 1994. "First-Price Sealed-Bid Auctions with Secret Reservation Prices," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 34, pages 71-114.
    6. Hardle, Wolfgang & Tsybakov, A. B., 1993. "How sensitive are average derivatives?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1-2), pages 31-48, July.
    7. Powell, James L & Stock, James H & Stoker, Thomas M, 1989. "Semiparametric Estimation of Index Coefficients," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(6), pages 1403-1430, November.
    8. R. Preston McAfee & John McMillan, 1986. "Bidding for Contracts: A Principal-Agent Analysis," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(3), pages 326-338, Autumn.
    9. Véronique Flambard & Isabelle Perrigne, 2006. "Asymmetry in Procurement Auctions: Evidence from Snow Removal Contracts," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(514), pages 1014-1036, October.
    10. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Vuong, Quang, 1993. "Structural econometric analysis of descending auctions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 329-341, April.
    11. Florens, Jean-Pierre & Hugo, Marie-Anne & Richard, Jean-Francois, 1997. "Game theory econometric models: application to procurements in the space industry," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-5), pages 951-959, April.
    12. Powell, James L. & Stoker, Thomas M., 1996. "Optimal bandwidth choice for density-weighted averages," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 291-316, December.
    13. Donald, Stephen G. & Paarsch, Harry J., 1996. "Identification, Estimation, and Testing in Parametric Empirical Models of Auctions within the Independent Private Values Paradigm," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(03), pages 517-567, August.
    14. McAfee, R Preston & McMillan, John, 1987. "Auctions and Bidding," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 25(2), pages 699-738, June.
    15. Holt, Charles A, Jr, 1979. "Uncertainty and the Bidding for Incentive Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(4), pages 697-705, September.
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    18. Guerre, E. & Perrigne, I. & Vuong, Q., 1995. "Nonparametric Estimation of First-Price Auctions," Papers 9504, Southern California - Department of Economics.
    19. Donald, Stephen G & Paarsch, Harry J, 1993. "Piecewise Pseudo-maximum Likelihood Estimation in Empirical Models of Auctions," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 34(1), pages 121-148, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sundström, David, 2016. "The Competition Effect in a Public Procurement Model: An error-in-variables approach," Umeå Economic Studies 920, Umeå University, Department of Economics, revised 17 Jun 2016.
    2. Atsushi Iimi, 2016. "Multidimensional Auctions for Public Energy Efficiency Projects: Evidence from Japanese Esco Market," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 49(3), pages 491-514, November.

    More about this item


    procurement auction; nonparametric estimation; informational rents; task design; municipal contracts; enchères d'approvisionnement; estimation non paramétrique; rentes d'information; conception des tâches; contrats municipaux;

    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General

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