August 30, 2004

Auctioning incentive contracts; application to welfare-to-work programs

CPB: aanbesteding van korte reïntegratietrajecten kan eenvoudiger

Press release
Het Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen (UWV) en de gemeenten kunnen de aanbesteding van reïntegratietrajecten voor werklozen eenvoudiger uitvoeren.

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Dick Morks

This paper applies the theory of auctioning incentive contracts to welfare-to-work programs. In several countries, the government procures welfare-to-work projects to employment service providers. 

In doing so, the government trades off adverse selection (the winning provider is not the most efficient one) and moral hazard (the winning provider shirks in his effort to reintegrate unemployed people). We compare three simple auctions with the socially optimal mechanism and show that two of these auctions approximate the optimal mechanism if the number of providers is large. Using simulations, we observe that competition between three bidders is already sufficient for the outcome of these auctions to reach 95% of the optimal level of social welfare.


Pierre Koning
S. Onderstal