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Bidding for Complex Projects: Evidence From the Acquisitions of IT Services

  • Gian Luigi Albano

    (Italian Public Procurement Agency (Consip S.p.A.))

  • Federico Dini

    (Italian Public Procurement Agency (Consip S.p.A.))

  • Roberto Zampino

    (Italian Public Procurement Agency (Consip S.p.A.))

Registered author(s):

    Competitive bidding (as auctions) is commonly used to procure goods and services. Public buyers are often mandated by law to adopt competitive procedures to ensure transparency and promote full competition. Recent theoretical literature, however, suggests that open competition can perform poorly in allocating complex projects. In exploring the determinants of suppliers’ bidding behavior in procurement auctions for complex IT services, we find results that are consistent with theory. We find that price and quality do not exhibit the classical tradeoff one would expect: quite surprisingly, high quality is associated to low prices. Furthermore, while quality is mainly driven by suppliers’ experience, price is affected more by the scoring rule and by the level of expected competition. These results might suggest that (scoring) auctions fail to appropriately incorporate buyers’ complex price/quality preferences in the tender design.

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    Paper provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its series Working Papers with number 2008.86.

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    Date of creation: Oct 2008
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    Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2008.86
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    1. Spagnolo, Giancarlo & Albano, Gian Luigi & Bianchi, Milo, 2006. "Bid avarage methods in Procurement," MPRA Paper 8997, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Susan Athey & Philip A. Haile, 2006. "Empirical Models of Auctions," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1562, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    3. 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.
    4. Robert H. Porter & J. Douglas Zona, 1992. "Detection of Bid Rigging in Procurement Auctions," NBER Working Papers 4013, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. 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.
    6. Victor P. Goldberg, 1977. "Competitive Bidding and the Production of Precontract Information," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 8(1), pages 250-261, Spring.
    7. 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.
    8. Patrick Bajari & Stephanie Houghton & Steve Tadelis, 2006. "Bidding for Incomplete Contracts: An Empirical Analysis," NBER Working Papers 12051, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Bajari, Patrick & Tadelis, Steven, 2001. "Incentives versus Transaction Costs: A Theory of Procurement Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(3), pages 387-407, Autumn.
    10. Alejandro M. Manelli & Daniel R. Vincent, 1992. "Optimal Procurement Mechanisms," Discussion Papers 999, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    11. Kim, In-Gyu, 1998. "A model of selective tendering: Does bidding competition deter opportunism by contractors?," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 907-925.
    12. Han Hong, 2000. "Increasing Competition and the Winner's Curse: Evidence from Procurement," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1628, Econometric Society.
    13. Yeon-Koo Che, 1993. "Design Competition through Multidimensional Auctions," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 24(4), pages 668-680, Winter.
    14. Keith J. Crocker & Kenneth J. Reynolds, 1993. "The Efficiency of Incomplete Contracts: An Empirical Analysis of Air Force Engine Procurement," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 24(1), pages 126-146, Spring.
    15. Dasgupta, Sudipto & Spulber, Daniel F., 1989. "Managing procurement auctions," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 5-29.
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