Article | RAND Journal of Economics | spring 1987

Second-Sourcing and the Experience Curve: Price Competition in Defense Procurement

by James J. Anton and Dennis A. Yao


We examine a dynamic model of price competition in defense procurement that incorporates the experience curve, asymmetric cost information, and the availability of a higher cost alternative system. We model acquisition as a two-stage process in which initial production is governed by a contract between the government and the developer. Competition is then introduced by an auction in which a second source bids against the developer for remaining production. We characterize the class of production contracts that are cost minimizing for the government and that induce the developer to reveal private cost information. When high costs are revealed, these contracts result in a credible cutoff of new system production in favor of the still higher cost alternative system.

Keywords: Acquisition; Government and Politics; Price; Competition; Mathematical Methods;


Anton, James J., and Dennis A. Yao. "Second-Sourcing and the Experience Curve: Price Competition in Defense Procurement." RAND Journal of Economics 18, no. 1 (spring 1987): 57–76. (Harvard users click here for full text.)