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Contract Form and Procurement Costs: The Impact of Compulsory Multiple Contractor Laws in Construction


  • Orley Ashenfelter
  • David Ashmore
  • Randall Filer


It is claimed that many regulatory rules enforce inefficiencies in order to achieve the appearance of cost control. We assess the importance of these claims by measuring the effect of New York state's compulsory multiple contractor law on the cost of public construction in New York City. Multiple contractor laws, which exist in many states, prohibit the use of general contractors in order to promote the appearance of competition. Contrasts of construction costs between buildings with identical blind cost estimates indicate that this law increases public construction costs by 8% and increases construction delays by more than a calendar year.

Suggested Citation

  • Orley Ashenfelter & David Ashmore & Randall Filer, 1997. "Contract Form and Procurement Costs: The Impact of Compulsory Multiple Contractor Laws in Construction," NBER Working Papers 5916, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5916
    Note: LE

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    Cited by:

    1. Decarolis, Francesco & Palumbo, Giuliana, 2015. "Renegotiation of public contracts: An empirical analysis," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 77-81.
    2. Lisa J. Cameron, 2000. "Limiting Buyer Discretion: Effects on Performance and Price in Long-Term Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 265-281, March.
    3. Alban Richard & Michel Trommetter, 2000. "Choix de mécanismes incitatifs dans les contrats agri-environnementaux," Économie et Prévision, Programme National Persée, vol. 145(4), pages 145-155.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K11 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Property Law
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law


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