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Commercial markets abound with examples of competitive forces providing reduced costs and increased innovation. However, the defense market is materially different from commercial markets in many ways, and thus does not respond in the same way to competition. This analysis examines a series of outcomes in both competitive and sole-source acquisition programs, using a statistical model that builds on a game theory framework developed by Todd Harrison, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment. The results show that the Department of Defense may actually incur increased costs from competition. Competition in defense acquisition may not reduce costs, but may—like a placebo—create a powerful perception of cost control.