Optimal bidder participation in public procurement auctions

Ilke Onur, Bedri Kamil Onur Tas*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This paper empirically identifies the optimal number of bidders to achieve the lowest procurement prices in public procurement auctions. We examine a unique data set that covers all Turkish government procurement auctions comprising more than half a million observations for the period 2005–2012. We present a novel and easy-to-implement method to investigate the number of bidders required for the public procurement markets to be competitive. Our results suggest that procurement costs decrease until six to eight bidders. Policy makers can employ the method to investigate the optimal number of bidders and design policies to promote competition. Moreover, policy makers can also make use of the optimal numbers as focal points to inspect whether competitive efficiency is achieved in public procurement auctions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)595-617
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Tax and Public Finance
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 15 2019


  • Competition
  • Endogeneity
  • Public procurement auctions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics

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