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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Bergman, Mats & Lundberg, Sofia, 2011. "Tender Evaluation and Award Methodologies in Public Procurement," Umeå Economic Studies 821, Umeå University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:umnees:0821

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gregory Lewis & Patrick Bajari, 2011. "Procurement Contracting With Time Incentives: Theory and Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(3), pages 1173-1211.
    2. 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.
    3. John Asker & Estelle Cantillon, 2008. "Properties of scoring auctions," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(1), pages 69-85.
    4. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bergman, Mats A. & Johansson, Per & Lundberg, Sofia & Spagnolo, Giancarlo, 2016. "Privatization and quality: Evidence from elderly care in Sweden," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 109-119.
    2. Koning, Pierre & van de Meerendonk, Arthur, 2014. "The impact of scoring weights on price and quality outcomes: An application to the procurement of Welfare-to-Work contracts," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 1-14.
    3. Makoto HANAZONO & Jun NAKABAYASHI & Masanori TSURUOKA, 2013. "Procurement Auctions with General Price-Quality Evaluation," KIER Working Papers 845, Kyoto University, Institute of Economic Research.

    More about this item


    Public Contracts; Public Procurement; Scoring Rules; Quality;

    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • H57 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Procurement


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