Best Poster Award for Work Comparing Nonprofit and For-profit Firms

By Francine Lafontaine

Next to the best paper award, at this year's SIOE conference also a best poster award was handed out for the best poster presentation given. It went to Bertrand V. Quelin (pictured) for his work with Marieke Huysentruyt (both HEC Paris), "Why For-profit Companies Compete with Non-profit Organizations to Access Development Aid Contracts." 

In this research, the authors ask what, if anything, is distinctive about the bidding and contracting behaviors of for-profit firms and non-profit organizations in markets for social goods. They explore the empirically rich setting of open, scoring auctions used by the U.K.’s Department for International Development to procure aid services. They find that for-profit organizations are more transactions-centric, agenda-takers, while non-profit organizations are more solution-centric, agenda-setters. Interestingly, activities of for-profits organizations typically involve much higher cost overruns, while activities contracted out to non-profit organizations are less costly, but tend the organizations at times to jeopardize public interests as they favor their own priorities. When for and not-for profit organizations compete directly, their behaviors become more similar. The findings shed new light on the intricate interdependencies between public and private actors/interests.

The selection committee, comprised of Decio Coviello, Francine Lafontaine, and Nicolas Sahuguet, selected this poster for the best poster award because of the importance of the research question, the strong evidence the authors were able to bring forth thanks to the setting and data they were working with, the interesting conclusions drawn and description of future work, and the clarity of the verbal exposition of the research by the author during the poster session.