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Procurement with Unenforceable Contract Time and the Law of Liquidated Damages

  • Cesare Dosi

    (Department of Economics and Management, University of Padova)

  • Michele Moretto

    (Department of Economics and Management, University of Padova, Centro Studi Levi Cases, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei)

Time overruns are common in public works and are not confined to inherently complex tasks. One explanation advanced in this paper is that bidders can undergo unpredictable changes in production costs which generate an option value of waiting. By exploiting the real-option approach, we examine how the inability to force sellers to meet the contract time influences their bidding behaviour, and how this can ultimately affect the parties’ expected payoffs. Further, we examine the outcome of the bidding process when legal rules prevent the promisee from contracting for damage measures which would grant more than her lost expectation. We show that when the pre-agreed compensatory payments prove insufficient to discourage delayed orders, setting a liquidated damages clause would not lead to a Pareto superior outcome with respect to the no-damage-for delay condition. While such a clause would increase the seller’s expected payoff, the buyer’s expected payoff is lower than when the contract does not provide for any compensation for late-delivery.

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Paper provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its series Working Papers with number 2012.45.

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Date of creation: Jun 2012
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Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2012.45
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  1. Chiara D'Alpaos & Michele Moretto & Paola Valbonesi & Sergio Vergalli, 2009. "It is never too late: Optimal penalty for investment delay in public procurement contracts," Working Papers 0907, University of Brescia, Department of Economics.
  2. Cesare Dosi & Michele Moretto, 2013. "Auctioning Monopoly Franchises: Award Criteria and Rollout Obligations," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 15(1), pages 53-75, 02.
  3. Peter M. DeMarzo & Ilan Kremer & Andrzej Skrzypacz, 2005. "Bidding with Securities: Auctions and Security Design," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 936-959, September.
  4. Juan José Ganuza, 2003. "Competition and cost overruns in procurement," Economics Working Papers 772, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  5. Yeon-Koo Che, 1993. "Design Competition through Multidimensional Auctions," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 24(4), pages 668-680, Winter.
  6. Nabil J Al-Najjar & Luca Anderlini & Leonardo Felli, 2002. "Unforeseen Contingencies," STICERD - Theoretical Economics Paper Series 431, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  7. Ram Singh, 2009. "Delays and Cost Overruns in Infrastructure Projects -- An Enquiry into Extents, Causes and Remedies," Working papers 181, Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics.
  8. Michael Garvin & Charles Cheah, 2004. "Valuation techniques for infrastructure investment decisions," Construction Management and Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(4), pages 373-383.
  9. Calzolari, Giacomo & Spagnolo, Giancarlo, 2009. "Relational Contracts and Competitive Screening," CEPR Discussion Papers 7434, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  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. McAfee, R Preston & McMillan, John, 1987. "Auctions and Bidding," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 25(2), pages 699-738, June.
  12. Samuel A. Rea, Jr., 1984. "Efficiency Implications of Penalties and Liquidated Damages," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(1), pages 147-168, January.
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