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Bidding for Incompete Contracts

  • Patrick Bajari

    (Duke University and NBER)

  • Stephanie Houghton

    (Duke University)

  • Steven Tadelis

    (Stanford University)

When procurement contracts are incomplete, they are frequently changed after the contract is awarded to the lowest bidder. This results in a final cost that differs from the initial price, and may involve significant transaction costs due to renegotiation. We propose a stylized model of bidding for incomplete contracts and apply it to data from highway repair contracts. We estimate the magnitude of transaction costs and their impact using both reduced form and fully structural models. Our results suggest that transactions costs are a significant and important determinant of observed bids, and that bidders strategically respond to contractual incompleteness. Our findings point at disadvantages of the traditional bidding process that are a consequence of transaction costs from contract adaptations.

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Paper provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its series Working Papers with number 2004.141.

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Date of creation: Dec 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2004.141
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  1. Mireia Jofre-Bonet & Martin Pesendorfer, 2001. "Estimation of a Dynamic Auction Game," NBER Working Papers 8626, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. Milgrom, Paul R, 1988. "Employment Contracts, Influence Activities, and Efficient Organization Design," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(1), pages 42-60, February.
  4. Patrick Bajari & Ali Hortacsu, 2003. "Are Structural Estimates of Auction Models Reasonable? Evidence from Experimental Data," Working Papers 03002, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  5. Kenneth Hendricks & Joris Pinkse & Robert H. Porter, 2003. "Empirical Implications of Equilibrium Bidding in First-Price, Symmetric, Common Value Auctions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 115-145.
  6. Ariel Pakes, 2003. "Common Sense and Simplicity in Empirical Industrial Organization," NBER Working Papers 10154, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Susan Athey & Jonathan Levin, 2001. "Information and Competition in U.S. Forest Service Timber Auctions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(2), pages 375-417, April.
  8. Masten, Scott E, 1984. "The Organization of Production: Evidence from the Aerospace Industry," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(2), pages 403-17, October.
  9. Estelle Cantillon & Martin Pesendorfer, . "Combination Bidding in Multi-unit Auctions," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/151705, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  10. Robert H. Porter & J. Douglas Zona, 1992. "Detection of Bid Rigging in Procurement Auctions," NBER Working Papers 4013, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Patrick Bajari & Steven Tadelis, 1999. "Incentives versus Transaction Costs: A Theory of Procurement Contracts," Working Papers 99029, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  12. Patrick Bajari & Lixin Ye, 2001. "Deciding Between Competition and Collusion," Working Papers 01008, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  13. Emmanuel Guerre & Isabelle Perrigne & Quang Vuong, 2000. "Optimal Nonparametric Estimation of First-Price Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(3), pages 525-574, May.
  14. Han Hong & Matthew Shum, 2002. "Increasing Competition and the Winner's Curse: Evidence from Procurement," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(4), pages 871-898.
  15. Sandra Campo & Emmanuel Guerre & Isabelle Perrigne & Quang Vuong, 2003. "Semiparametric Estimation of First-price Auctions with Risk Averse Bidders," Working Papers 2003-09, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  16. Kenneth S. Corts, 2004. "The Effect of Repeated Interaction on Contract Choice: Evidence from Offshore Drilling," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(1), pages 230-260, April.
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