School of Economics

Transparency in Procurement: The design and use of information in trading mechanisms

József Sákovics (PI), Ina Taneva, Ludo Visschers (all at the University Edinburgh) and Roberto Burguet (Institute for Economic Analysis, CSIC, Spain) are collaborating on this ESRC research grant. The project is in partnership with NHS Scotland (main contact: Alison Brown).

Roberto Burguet
Professor Roberto Burguet
ESRC Rsearch Grant
The Edinburgh Team


The Team

Professor József Sákovics

Dr Ina Taneva

Professor Ludo Visschers

Professor Roberto Burguet

NHS National Procurement


Our study of procurement mechanisms will bring the theory closer to the issues that are relevant in practice and it will use innovative methods of addressing the problem of designing the entire process of tendering, from the first call to the signing of the contract(s). We are particularly hopeful about making progress on the judicious design of the information released to the bidders. We expect to find new insights that are sufficiently general so that they can be applied - directly or indirectly - in a wide range of procurement contexts, both public and private. Thus, our results could, in principle, be beneficial to the Ministry of Defence, the NHS, a city council or even to British Telecom and its customers.

The actual result of innovations could be, in the first instance, a cost saving for the entity that sources the inputs as the consequence of more competitive bidding. Additionally, it could also lead to a more efficient match between buyer(s) and suppliers, taking into account the multi-faceted objectives of many buyers. In other words, the average gains to be shared between a buyer and the chosen seller(s) will increase. Such a result should potentially also encourage further, possibly relationship specific, investments from the part of the relevant suppliers, which could feed back and increase the gains from trade yet again.

Our partnership with NHS National Procurement will be fundamental in achieving this objective. They will be both a source of practical experience and a test bed for our innovations.


Start date 1/1/2016
End date 31/12/2018
Total value of the award



Forthcoming event:  Procurement Day on Wednesday 21 November 2018 | Seminar room 3.10 - 31 Buccleuch Place

10:00-11:15 - Prof. Eyal Winter (University of Lancaster and Hebrew University) - Raising Capital from Heterogeneous Investors

 11:15-11:45: - Break, with coffee and biscuits/fruit

 11:45-13:00: Dr. Daniel Monte (Sao Paulo School of Economics) - Costly Information Intermediation as a Natural Monopoly



  1. Bidding for input in oligopoly (Discussion Paper 266, February 2016) - Roberto Burguet and József Sákovics
  2. Focus Paper 20 ( January 2017) - Jozsef Sakovics
  3. On Information Design in Games (mimeo) - Laurent Mathevet, Jacopo Perego, and Ina Taneva
  4. Competing with Asking Prices (Theoretical Economics, May 2017) - Ludo Visschers, Benjamin Lester and Ronald Wolthoff
  5. Competitive Foreclosure (RAND Journal of Economics, November 2017) - Roberto Burguet and József Sákovics
  6. Bidding for talent in sport (Discussion Paper 285, January 2018) - Roberto Burguet and József Sákovics
  7. Procurement with Bilateral Commitment (mimeo) - Roberto Burguet and Jozsef Sakovics
  8.  Block Sourcing (mimeo) - Lluis Bru, Daniel Cardona and József Sákovics

Knowledge exchange activities

Sákovics participated in the ZEW Workshop on Market Design at the University of Mannheim (March 2018), where he presented Output (5).

Sákovics visited the European University Institute, where he presented Output (7) (October 2017).

Taneva has visited Cambridge (March 2016), CSIC and UPF (May 2016), and Oxford (November 2016), where she has presented Output (3) and discussed the topic of transparency in procurement with academics in the host institutions.

Sákovics participated in the annual conference of the European Association for Research in Industrial Economics (September 2016) presenting on Output (1 & 2), as well as organising a mini-conference on the topic of Transparency in Procurement at which Taneva and Visschers also presented (September 2016).

Mini-Conference Videos

2018 Conference

2017 conference

2016 conference