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Going once, going twice, SOLD!: the economics of past and present public procurement in Sweden
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economics.
2001 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis is about the economic aspects of public procurement of services through auctionsin Sweden. It focuses on two different institutions, auctions used to find foste r-parents forboarded out children in the 19th century, and auctions of cleaning service contracts in the 20 thcentury. I n both cases, the contracting entity is the municipality or its representative, thelowest bidder wins the auction, and is paid in accordance with his/her bid.In the child auctions, c hildren were allotted to foster-parents by means of an open biddingprocess, the descending English auction, where the bids were given continuously to theauctioneer. In modern public procurement sealed bids ar e used in accordance with the firstprice,sealed bid auction. The first part of this thesis is about price formation in the childauctions and a study is made of the children who were auctioned several times, indicatingasymmetric information among bidders or adverse selection in this market. These subjects arestudied using field data on 601 child auctions held in Northern Sweden during the period 1863to 1889. The empirical findings in the first paper suggest that the foster-parents had a cleareconomic motive in these auctions. The child characteristics significantly affect the amount ofcompensation paid to the foster-parent. There is also evidence that farmers preferred older,more productive children. The second paper studies whether a re-auctioned child commandeda higher or lower price than a child that was not re-auctioned. The results indicate some formof asymmetric information because foster-parents demanded a higher level of compensationfor a re-auctioned child. The results also suggest that the probability that a child was reauctionedincreased if he/she was not healthy.The third paper in the thesis discusses a kind of "paradox". Although there is a competitiveeffect on the bids in the auction of cleaning service contracts, the contracting entity has anoption, given by law, to restrict the number of bidders. In th is paper, an implementation costis introduced fo r the contracting entity to justify such a restriction. The results, based onSwedish municipality data, indicate that contract and municipality characteristics, assumed toaffect the implementation cost, affect the volume of the procurement, and the number ofbidders, but not necessarily the choice of allocation mechanism. The final paper studiesregional differences in bids, costs, and competition in municipal procurement using the samedata as in paper [3]. The results show higher estimated costs for completing the contract, butlower estimated mean bids in the major city area of Stockholm compared with the res t of thecountry. This is explained by lower profit margins and higher operational costs in the majorcity area. An analysis is also carried out of why the lowest bidder is not always the contractedbidder.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 2001. , 23 p.
Umeå economic studies, ISSN 0348-1018 ; 557
Keyword [en]
Adverse selection, asymmetric information, common value, fixed price contract, logit model, negative binomial, negotiated procedure, open procedure, private values, simplified procedure, stochastic cost frontier
Keyword [sv]
Sverige, 1800-talet, 1900-talet, Prisbildning, Auktioner, Offentlig upphandling, tjänster
National Category
Economic History History Sociology
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-73622ISBN: 91-7305-054-7OAI: diva2:632787
Public defence
2001-06-01, Samhällsvetarhuset, hörsal S205h, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 10:15

Härtill 4 delar.

Available from: 2013-06-25 Created: 2013-06-25 Last updated: 2013-06-25Bibliographically approved

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