Title

A Public Procurement Combinatorial Auction Mechanism with Quality Assignment

Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

2011

Abstract

This article focuses on mechanism design for quality assignment combinatorial procurement auctions. We model how the participants can maximize social surplus, the difference between gross utility and total cost in electronic procurement, while selecting appropriate quality standards for the procured items. In typical forward combinatorial auctions, the goal is to maximize the sum of all buyers' valuations. In our setting, however, to achieve high buyer utility with low supplier cost, the selected quality levels for the procured items from the suppliers must exceed some predetermined minimum threshold. So the identification of capable suppliers and the corresponding quality assignments are crucial, since buyer utility and supplier cost will be affected by the buyer's quality choice. We develop a novel mechanism to balance the interests of buyers and sellers. Our proposed quality assignment Vickrey–Groves–Clarke (QA-VCG) mechanism is incentive-compatible, provides constraints on partial participation, and is efficient in quasi-linear preferences. In consideration of the perspective of the buyer as a government auctioneer, we also propose a revised mechanism to implement the goal of achieving minimal procurement costs, and appropriate benefits for participating suppliers. We provide a numerical illustration of our QA-VCG mechanism, and an extension that addresses an iterative combinatorial auction mechanism design in our context.

Keywords

Combinatorial auctions, Economic analysis, Government procurement, Mechanism design, Quality assignment, Social welfare

Discipline

Business | Computer Sciences

Research Areas

Information Systems and Management

Publication

Decision Support Systems

Volume

51

Issue

3

First Page

480

Last Page

492

ISSN

0167-9236

Identifier

10.1016/j.dss.2011.02.012

Publisher

Elsevier

Additional URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dss.2011.02.012