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Procurement When Price and Quality Matter

  • John Asker
  • Estelle Cantillon

A buyer seeks to procure a good characterized by its price and its quality from suppliers who have private information about their cost structure (fixed cost + marginal cost of providing quality). We solve for the optimal buying procedure, i.e. the procedure that maximizes the buyer's expected utility. We then use the optimal procedure as a theoretical and numerical benchmark to study practical and simple buying procedures such as scoring auctions and negotiation. Specifically, we derive the restrictions that these simpler procedures place on allocations and compare them with the optimal allocations to generate insights about the properties of these simpler procedures and identify environments where they are likely to do well. We also use the optimal procedure benchmark to compare the performance of these procedures numerically. We find that scoring auctions are able to extract a good proportion of the surplus from being a strategic buyer, that is, the difference between the expected revenue from the optimal mechanism and the efficient auction. Sequential procedures (to which many negotiation processes belong) do less well, and, in fact, often worse than simply holding an efficient auction. In each case, we identify the underlying reason for these results.

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File URL: http://pages.stern.nyu.edu/~jasker/AskerCantillonProcurement2006.pdf
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Paper provided by New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 06-24.

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Date of creation: 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ste:nystbu:06-24
Contact details of provider: Postal: New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics, 44 West 4th Street, New York, NY 10012-1126
Phone: (212) 998-0860
Fax: (212) 995-4218
Web page: http://w4.stern.nyu.edu/economics/
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  1. Taylor, Curtis R, 1993. "Delivery-Contingent Contracts for Research," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(1), pages 188-203, April.
  2. Asker, John & Cantillon, Estelle, 2004. "Properties of Scoring Auctions," CEPR Discussion Papers 4734, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Che, Y.K., 1991. "Design Competition through Multidimensional Auctions," Working papers 9123, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  4. Wilson, Robert, 1997. "Nonlinear Pricing," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195115826, March.
  5. Ganuza, Juan-Jose & Pechlivanos, Lambros, 2000. "Heterogeneity-promoting optimal procurement," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 105-112, April.
  6. Jean-Jaques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 1985. "Auctioning Incentive Contracts," Working papers 403, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. Armstrong, Mark, 1996. "Multiproduct Nonlinear Pricing," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(1), pages 51-75, January.
  8. Fernando Branco, 1997. "The Design of Multidimensional Auctions," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 28(1), pages 63-81, Spring.
  9. Alejandro M. Manelli & Daniel R. Vincent, 1992. "Optimal Procurement Mechanisms," Discussion Papers 999, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  10. Manelli, Alejandro M. & Vincent, Daniel R., 2007. "Multidimensional mechanism design: Revenue maximization and the multiple-good monopoly," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 137(1), pages 153-185, November.
  11. Armstrong, Mark, 2000. "Optimal Multi-object Auctions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(3), pages 455-81, July.
  12. Border, Kim C, 1991. "Implementation of Reduced Form Auctions: A Geometric Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(4), pages 1175-87, July.
  13. Patrick Bajari & Steven Tadelis, 1999. "Incentives versus Transaction Costs: A Theory of Procurement Contracts," Working Papers 99029, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  14. 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.
  15. Dasgupta, Sudipto & Spulber, Daniel F., 1989. "Managing procurement auctions," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 5-29.
  16. repec:ste:nystbu:06-22 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Yeon-Koo Che & Ian Gale, 2000. "Optimal Design of Research Contests," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1784, Econometric Society.
  18. Bulow, Jeremy & Klemperer, Paul, 1996. "Auctions versus Negotiations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 180-94, March.
  19. Wang, Gyu Ho, 1998. "Bargaining over a Menu of Wage Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(2), pages 295-305, April.
  20. Jehiel, Phillipe & Moldovanu, Benny & Stacchetti, E., 1997. "Multidimensional Mechanism Design for Auctions with Externalities," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 97-04, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universit├Ąt Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  21. Mathias Dewatripont & Lars Peter Hansen & Stephen Turnovsky, 2003. "Advances in economics and econometrics: the eighth world congress," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9557, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  22. Asker, John & Cantillon, Estelle, 2005. "Optimal Procurement When Both Price and Quality Matter," CEPR Discussion Papers 5276, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  23. Klein, Benjamin & Leffler, Keith B, 1981. "The Role of Market Forces in Assuring Contractual Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 615-41, August.
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