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Tender Evaluation and Award Methodologies in Public Procurement

  • Bergman, Mats


    (Department of Economics)

  • Lundberg, Sofia


    (Department of Economics, Umeå University)

The EU procurement directives stipulate that public contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder or to the bidder with the economically most advantageous offer; the latter requiring that a scoring rule must be specified. We provide a simple theoretical framework for tender evaluation and discuss the pros and cons of common scoring rules, e.g., highest quality (beauty contest) and price-and-quality-based evaluation. Some descriptive facts are presented for a sample of Swedish public procurements. We argue that the most common method, price-to-quality scoring, is flawed for several reasons. It is non-transparent, making accurate representation of the procurer’s preferences difficult. It is often open to strategic manipulation, due to dependence on irrelevant alternatives, and it is unreasonably non-linear in bid prices. We prefer quality-to-price scoring, where money values are assigned to different quality levels. When the costs of quality are relatively well-known, however, lowest price is the preferable award criteria.

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Paper provided by Umeå University, Department of Economics in its series Umeå Economic Studies with number 821.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 16 Mar 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:umnees:0821
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, Umeå University, S-901 87 Umeå, Sweden
Phone: 090 - 786 61 42
Fax: 090 - 77 23 02
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  1. Patrick Bajari & Gregory Lewis, 2009. "Procurement Contracting with Time Incentives: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 14855, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. John Asker & Estelle Cantillon, 2008. "Properties of Scoring Auctions," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/172674, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  3. Gian Luigi Albano & Milo Bianchi & Giancarlo Spagnolo, 2006. "Bid Average Methods in Procurement," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, vol. 96(1), pages 41-62, January-F.
  4. Francesco Decarolis, 2009. "When the highest bidder loses the auction: theory and evidence from public procurement," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 717, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
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