IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Competition In Or For The Field: Which Is Better?


  • Eduardo Engel


  • Ronald Fischer


  • Alexander Galetovic



In many circumstances, a principal, who wants prices to be as low as possible, must contract with agents who would like to charge the monopoly price. This paper compares a Demsetz auction, which awards an exclusive contract to the agent bidding the lowest price (competition for the field) with having two agents provide the good under (imperfectly) competitive conditions (competition in the field). We obtain a simple sufficient condition showing unambiguously which option is best. The condition depends only on the shapes of the surplus function of the principal and the profit function of agents, and is independent of the particular duopoly game played ex post. We apply this condition to three canonical examples-procurement, royalty contracts and dealerships-and find that whenever marginal revenue for the final good is decreasing in the quantity sold, a Demsetz auction is best. Moreover, a planner who wants to maximize social surplus also prefers a Demsetz auction.

Suggested Citation

  • Eduardo Engel & Ronald Fischer & Alexander Galetovic, 2002. "Competition In Or For The Field: Which Is Better?," Documentos de Trabajo 115, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
  • Handle: RePEc:edj:ceauch:115

    Download full text from publisher

    To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
    1. Check below whether another version of this item is available online.
    2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
    3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Caillaud, Bernard & Tirole, Jean, 2004. "Essential facility financing and market structure," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 667-694, March.
    2. Eduardo Engel & Ronald Fischer & Alexander Galetovic, 2000. "How to Auction an Essential Facility when Underhand Integration is Possible," Documentos de Trabajo 79, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
    3. Eduardo M. R. A. Engel & Ronald D. Fischer & Alexander Galetovic, 2001. "Least-Present-Value-of-Revenue Auctions and Highway Franchising," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(5), pages 993-1020, October.
    4. Daniel F. Spulber, 1989. "Regulation and Markets," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262192756, July.
    5. Francine Lafontaine & Kathryn L. Shaw, 1999. "The Dynamics of Franchise Contracting: Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(5), pages 1041-1080, October.
    6. Gallini, Nancy T, 1984. "Deterrence by Market Sharing: A Strategic Incentive for Licensing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(5), pages 931-941, December.
    7. Harstad, Ronald M & Crew, Michael A, 1999. "Franchise Bidding without Holdups: Utility Regulation with Efficient Pricing and Choice of Provider," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 141-163, March.
    8. Riordan, Michael H & Sappington, David E M, 1987. "Awarding Monopoly Franchises," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 375-387, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Athias, Laure & Nunez, Antonio, 2008. "The more the merrier? Number of bidders, information dispersion, renegotiation and winner’s curse in toll road concessions," MPRA Paper 10539, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • L12 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Monopoly; Monopolization Strategies
    • L92 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Railroads and Other Surface Transportation


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:edj:ceauch:115. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.