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Split awards, Procurement, and Innovation

James J. Anton and Dennis A. Yao

RAND Journal of Economics 20(4) 538-552, 1989

Abstract: In many procurement settings, it is possible for a buyer to split a production award between suppliers. In this article, we develop a model of split-award procurement auctions in which the split choice is endogenous. We characterize the set of equilibrium bids and allocations for optimizing agents in an environment in which suppliers are fully informed about each other's costs. Split-award equilibria simultaneously exhibit strong collusive features and cost-efficiency properties. Despite the former property of the equilibria, upstream investment considerations may lead a buyer to prefer a split-award auction format to a winner-take-all auction format.