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Procurement when Price and Quality Matter

  • Asker, John
  • Cantillon, Estelle

A buyer seeks to procure a good characterized by its price and its quality from suppliers who have private information about their cost structure (fixed cost + marginal cost of providing quality). We solve for the optimal buying procedure, i.e. the procedure that maximizes the buyer's expected utility. We then use the optimal procedure as a theoretical and numerical benchmark to study practical and simple buying procedures such as scoring auctions and negotiation. Specifically, we derive the restrictions that these simpler procedures place on allocations and compare them with the optimal allocations to generate insights about the properties of these simpler procedures and identify environments where they are likely to do well. We also use the optimal procedure benchmark to compare the performance of these procedures numerically. We find that scoring auctions are able to extract a good proportion of the surplus from being a strategic buyer, that is, the difference between the expected revenue from the optimal mechanism and the efficient auction. Sequential procedures (to which many negotiation processes belong) do less well, and, in fact, often worse than simply holding an efficient auction. In each case, we identify the underlying reason for these results.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6082.

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Date of creation: Feb 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6082
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  1. Patrick Bajari & Steven Tadelis, 1999. "Incentives versus Transaction Costs: A Theory of Procurement Contracts," Working Papers 99029, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  2. Yeon-Koo Che & Ian Gale, 2000. "Optimal Design of Research Contests," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1784, Econometric Society.
  3. Che, Y.K., 1991. "Design Competition through Multidimensional Auctions," Working papers 9123, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  4. John Asker & Estelle Cantillon, 2008. "Properties of scoring auctions," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(1), pages 69-85.
  5. Armstrong, Mark, 1996. "Multiproduct Nonlinear Pricing," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(1), pages 51-75, January.
  6. Fernando Branco, 1997. "The Design of Multidimensional Auctions," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 28(1), pages 63-81, Spring.
  7. Patrick Bajari & Robert S. McMillan & Steve Tadelis, 2003. "Auctions Versus Negotiations in Procurement: An Empirical Analysis," NBER Working Papers 9757, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Klein, Benjamin & Leffler, Keith B, 1981. "The Role of Market Forces in Assuring Contractual Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 615-41, August.
  9. Jehiel, Phillipe & Moldovanu, Benny & Stacchetti, E., 1997. "Multidimensional Mechanism Design for Auctions with Externalities," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 97-04, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universit├Ąt Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  10. Manelli, Alejandro M. & Vincent, Daniel R., 2007. "Multidimensional mechanism design: Revenue maximization and the multiple-good monopoly," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 137(1), pages 153-185, November.
  11. Bulow, Jeremy & Klemperer, Paul, 1996. "Auctions versus Negotiations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 180-94, March.
  12. Armstrong, Mark, 2000. "Optimal Multi-object Auctions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(3), pages 455-81, July.
  13. Mathias Dewatripont & Lars Peter Hansen & Stephen Turnovsky, 2003. "Advances in economics and econometrics: the eighth world congress," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9557, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  14. repec:ste:nystbu:06-22 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Manelli, Alejandro M & Vincent, Daniel R, 1995. "Optimal Procurement Mechanisms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(3), pages 591-620, May.
  16. Dasgupta, Sudipto & Spulber, Daniel F., 1989. "Managing procurement auctions," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 5-29.
  17. Wilson, Robert, 1997. "Nonlinear Pricing," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195115826, March.
  18. Asker, John & Cantillon, Estelle, 2005. "Optimal Procurement When Both Price and Quality Matter," CEPR Discussion Papers 5276, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  19. Jean-Jaques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 1985. "Auctioning Incentive Contracts," Working papers 403, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  20. Taylor, Curtis R, 1993. "Delivery-Contingent Contracts for Research," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(1), pages 188-203, April.
  21. Ganuza, Juan-Jose & Pechlivanos, Lambros, 2000. "Heterogeneity-promoting optimal procurement," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 105-112, April.
  22. Border, Kim C, 1991. "Implementation of Reduced Form Auctions: A Geometric Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(4), pages 1175-87, July.
  23. Wang, Gyu Ho, 1998. "Bargaining over a Menu of Wage Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(2), pages 295-305, April.
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