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Auctions vs negotiations in public procurement: which works better?

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  • Rafael Lalive
  • Armin Schmutzler

Abstract

Public agencies rely on two key modes to procure goods and services: auctions and direct negotiations. The relative advantages of these two modes are still imperfectly understood. This paper therefore studies public procurement of regional passenger railway services in Germany, where regional agencies can use auctions and negotiations to procure regional passenger rail services. This offers the unique opportunity to assess the two procurement modes within the same institutional and legal framework. We first characterize the decisions of the agency in a simple reduced form framework of negotiations and auctions. This analysis suggests accounting for the endogeneity of the choice of procurement mode by estimating the mode of procurement, quantity and price simultaneously. We then test this framework using information on lines that were auctioned and lines that were directly negotiated with the former monopolist. Results indicate (i) endogeneity of procurement choice can be fully characterized by observed line characteristics; (ii) frequency of service is 16 percent higher on lines that were auctioned compared to lines that were negotiated, and (iii) the procurement price is 25 percent lower on auctioned lines than on those with direct negotiations. Taken together, these results indicate a significant efficiency enhancing effect of auctions.

Suggested Citation

  • Rafael Lalive & Armin Schmutzler, 2011. "Auctions vs negotiations in public procurement: which works better?," ECON - Working Papers 023, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:zur:econwp:023
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    Cited by:

    1. Hunold, Matthias & Laitenberger, Ulrich & Licht, Georg & Nikogosian, Vigen & Stenzel, André & Ullrich, Hannes & Wolf, Christoph, 2011. "Modernisierung der Konzentrationsberichterstattung: Endbericht," ZEW Expertises, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research, number 110525, May.
    2. Armin Schmutzler, 2011. "Local Transportation Policy and the Environment," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 48(3), pages 511-535, March.
    3. Decio Coviello & Andrea Guglielmo & Giancarlo Spagnolo, 2015. "The Effect of Discretion on Procurement Performance," CEIS Research Paper 361, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 17 Nov 2015.
    4. Herweg, Fabian & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2014. "Auctions vs. Negotiations:The Effects of Inefficient Renegotiation," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 484, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    5. Michal Kvasnicka & Rostislav Stanek & Ondrej Krcal, 2015. "Do Auctions Improve Public Procurement? Evidence from the Czech Republic," DANUBE: Law and Economics Review, European Association Comenius - EACO, issue 4, pages 241-257, December.
    6. Adriaan R. Soetevent & Marco A. Haan & Pim Heijnen, 2014. "Do Auctions and Forced Divestitures Increase Competition? Evidence for Retail Gasoline Markets," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(3), pages 467-502, September.
    7. Gian Luigi Albano & Berardino Cesi & Alberto Iozzi, 2017. "Teaching an old dog a new trick: reserve price and unverifiable quality in repeated procurement," CEIS Research Paper 404, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 05 May 2017.
    8. Andrey Yakovlev & Aleksandra Bashina & Olga Demidova, 2014. "The effectiveness of simple homogeneous commodity procurement under rigid govermental regulation: the case of granulated sugar procurement in Russia," HSE Working papers WP BRP 13/PA/2014, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    9. Gerardino, Maria Paula & Litschig, Stephan & Pomeranz, Dina, 2017. "Can Audits Backfire? Evidence from Public Procurement in Chile," CEPR Discussion Papers 12529, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Albano, Gian Luigi & Cesi, Berardino & Iozzi, Alberto, 2017. "Public procurement with unverifiable quality: The case for discriminatory competitive procedures," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 14-26.
    11. Lalive, Rafael & Luechinger, Simon & Schmutzler, Armin, 2013. "Does Supporting Passenger Railways Reduce Road Traffic Externalities?," CEPR Discussion Papers 9335, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. van den Berg, Vincent A.C., 2013. "Serial private infrastructures," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 186-202.
    13. Wegelin, Philipp & von Arx, Widar, 2016. "The impact of alternative governance forms of regional public rail transport on transaction costs. Case evidence from Germany and Switzerland," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 133-142.
    14. Tomeš, Zdeněk & Kvizda, Martin & Nigrin, Tomáš & Seidenglanz, Daniel, 2014. "Competition in the railway passenger market in the Czech Republic," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 270-276.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Auctions; negotiations; liberalization; passenger railways; public procurement;

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • R48 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government Pricing and Policy

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