Optimal Contract Mechanism Design for Performance-Based Contracts


Diwakar Gupta, Aditya Vedantam, Justin Azadivar

August 2011

Report no. MnDOT 2011-18

This report explores the possibility of implementing a performance-based contract (PBC) in highway construction and maintenance. PBC allows a state transportation agency (STA) to use an incentive structure to induce the contractor to take a long-term interest in the functionality of the highway without excessive cost to the STA. First, an overview of contract mechanisms and existing PBCs in industry is provided. Then, a summary of performance-based specifications illustrates that contractors can adopt construction and maintenance policies to significantly improve pavement performance. Finally, a framework for choosing PBCs to achieve STAs? goals is provided, with a discussion of some of the difficulties associated with implementation. It can be seen that, in a competitive bidding process, the additional cost of incentives is not larger than the additional value gained by higher-quality work.

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