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A Game-Theoretic Approach to Optimizing Behaviors in Acquisition

This presentation discusses research on using game theory in acquisition.

Software Engineering Institute




Misalignment of incentives both between contractors and with the government is a primary cause of poor acquisition outcomes, including wasted effort, lost time, and suboptimal results. To address this, our research characterizes and computationally quantifies the equilibrium structure of the acquisition “game” (i.e., the expected outcomes, given various utilities) using agent-based modelling and simulation to frame the misaligned incentive situation. To validate our research results, we will calibrate our model through interviews with program stakeholders and plan to pilot a set of incentive mechanisms that our simulation analyses have shown will improve outcomes through greater contractor cooperation.