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A competitive sealed bid (CSB) is a procurement method where the contract is awarded to the company with the lowest bid and is used to procure high-cost items with easily definable characteristics. Similar to a CSB, a request for proposal (RFP) is also a procurement method that is used for large purchases but it allows businesses and contracting officials to bargain over details before a contract is awarded. RFPs are the more appropriate vehicle when the procurement need is complex. But in what circumstances is a CSB v. a RFP more cost-efficient to taxpayers? This paper seeks to answer that question by looking at Government Accountability Office reports and analyzing (1) the average cost of CSB v. RFP bids for similar procurements (2) the government resources spent in each procurement process and (3) the effect that the post-bid debriefs or protests have on the efficiency of the procurement method. The last element - bid protests and solicitation debriefs - is the area that has the least data available and is in need of the biggest policy changes.

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