Detecting collusion in timber auctions : an application to Romania
Romania was one of the first transition countries in Europe to introduce auctions for allocating standing timber (stumpage) in public forests. In comparison with the former system in the country-administrative allocation at set prices-timber auctions offer several potential advantages: greater revenue generation for the government, a higher probability that tracts will be allocated to the firms that value them most highly, and stronger incentives for technological change within industry and efficiency gains in the public sector. Competition is the key to realizing these advantages. Unfortunately, collusion among bidders often limits competition in timber auctions, including in well-established market economies such as the United States. The result is that tracts sell below their fair market value, which undermines the advantages of auctions. This paper examines the Romanian auction system, with a focus on the use of econometric methods to detect collusion. It begins by describing the historical development of the system and the principal steps in the auction process. It then discusses the qualitative impacts of various economic and institutional factors, including collusion, on winning bids in different regions of the country. This discussion draws on information from a combination of sources, including unstructured interviews conducted with government officials and company representatives during 2003. Next, the paper summarizes key findings from the broader research literature on auctions, with an emphasis on empirical studies that have developed econometric methods for detecting collusion. It then presents an application of such methods to timber auction data from two forest directorates in Romania, Neamt and Suceava. This application confirms that data from Romanian timber auctions can be used to determine the likelihood of collusion, and it suggests that collusion reduced winning bids in Suceava in 2002 and perhaps also in Neamt. The paper concludes with a discussion of actions that the government can take to reduce the incidence of collusion and minimize its impact on auction outcomes.
|Date of creation:||01 Dec 2006|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: 1818 H Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20433|
Phone: (202) 477-1234
Web page: http://www.worldbank.org/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Brannman, Lance Eric, 1996. "Potential Competition and Possible Collusion in Forest Service Timber Auctions," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 34(4), pages 730-45, October.
- Jean-Daniel Saphores & Lynda Khalaf & Denis Pelletier, 2002. "On Jumps and ARCH Effects in Natural Resource Prices: An Application to Pacific Northwest Stumpage Prices," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 84(2), pages 387-400.
- Khalaf, Lynda & Saphores, Jean-Daniel & Bilodeau, Jean-Francois, 2003. "Simulation-based exact jump tests in models with conditional heteroskedasticity," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 531-553, December.
- Robert H. Porter & J. Douglas Zona, 1999.
"Ohio School Milk Markets: An Analysis of Bidding,"
RAND Journal of Economics,
The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(2), pages 263-288, Summer.
- Milgrom, Paul R & Weber, Robert J, 1982.
"A Theory of Auctions and Competitive Bidding,"
Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1089-1122, September.
- Martin Pesendorfer, 2000. "A Study of Collusion in First-Price Auctions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(3), pages 381-411.
- Porter, Robert H & Zona, J Douglas, 1993.
"Detection of Bid Rigging in Procurement Auctions,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 518-38, June.
- Kenneth Hendricks & Robert Porter, 1989.
"Collusion in Auctions,"
817, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Patrick Bajari & Lixin Ye, 2003.
"Deciding Between Competition and Collusion,"
The Review of Economics and Statistics,
MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 971-989, November.
- Hendricks, Kenneth & Porter, Robert H, 1988. "An Empirical Study of an Auction with Asymmetric Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(5), pages 865-83, December.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4105. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Roula I. Yazigi)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.