Buyers’ Workload and R&D Procurement Outcomes: Evidence from the Us Air Force Research Lab

37 Pages Posted: 27 Aug 2021

See all articles by Leonardo M. Giuffrida

Leonardo M. Giuffrida

ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research; Mannheim Centre for Competition and Innovation; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Emilio Raiteri

Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) - Department of Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences

Date Written: 2021

Abstract

Does workload constitute a bottleneck to a public agency’s mission, and if so, to what extent? We ask these questions in the context of the US government’s procurement of R&D. We link tender, contract, patent, and office records to the identity of the officer responsible for the procurement process to estimate how workload in the federal acquisition unit affects the execution of R&D contracts. The identification comes from unanticipated retirement shifts among contracting officers, which we use to instrument workload. We find a large increase in patenting at the extensive margin when the same officer is exposed to a declining workload. In our sample, an additional contracting officer in the procurement unit, holding fixed the procurement budget and number of purchases, leads to a two percentage point increase in the probability for an R&D contract to generate patents. We provide suggestive evidence that backlogged contracting officers are unable to devote enough time to tender and contract specifications.

Keywords: Workload, Public Procurement, Contracting Officer, R&D, Patents

JEL Classification: D23, H57, O31, O32

Suggested Citation

Giuffrida, Leonardo Maria and Raiteri, Emilio, Buyers’ Workload and R&D Procurement Outcomes: Evidence from the Us Air Force Research Lab (2021). ZEW - Centre for European Economic Research Discussion Paper No. 21-059, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3901689 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3901689

Leonardo Maria Giuffrida (Contact Author)

ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research ( email )

P.O. Box 10 34 43
L 7,1
Mannheim, 68034
Germany

Mannheim Centre for Competition and Innovation ( email )

L 7, 1
Mannheim, 68131
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Emilio Raiteri

Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) - Department of Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences ( email )

Den Dolech 2
Eindhoven
Netherlands

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