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 InterNeg Research Centre
 Suite MB-014-264
 1450 Guy Street
 Montreal, Quebec H3H 0A1
 Tel: (514) 848-2424-2799

InterNeg Seminars

The InterNeg seminars take place at the J. Molson School of Business in Montreal.
If you would like to make a presentation or be added to the mailing list, contact Ms. Norma Paradis

    Seminars by Year:

2014 Seminars

InterNeg Seminars

13:00 PM, February 12, 2014

Procurement Auctions: Efficiency and Social Welfare in Theory and Practice

Gregory Kersten

Quasi-linearity of preferences is one of the standard assumptions in auction theory. This assumption is of particular significance in multi-attribute reverse auctions which are used in procurement. This paper presents an analysis of this assumption and its implications. Building on observations of scholars in economics and decision sciences who note that in practice such preferences may be rare, it shows that in procurement of services and goods that are to be produced, price is often interrelated with costs. When preferences can be represented with convex or concave utilities, the alternatives in which the buyer’s surplus is maximized are different from those that maximize social welfare. The result is that reverse auctions may cause a significant loss of social welfare, which may be of particular significance for public organizations. The analysis of concave efficient frontiers in the utility space which are the result of concave and linear utility functions, shows that it is possible to determine alternatives for which social welfare is greater than for the alternative which is the winning bids. If the winning seller is willing to share the increase in utility with the buyer who faces a loss, then these alternatives can produce for both the buyer and the seller, utility values that are higher than produced by the winning bid.


Gregory Kersten, JMSB

For more information contact: Ms. Norma Paradis, nparadis(at)

  March 21, 2019
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InterNeg Research Centre, Concordia University (Montreal)