Bypassing public procurement regulation: a study of rationality in local decision making

Publisher's full text
Lisa Hansson
Johan Holmgren

Using private contractors through procurement is common in most public sector areas. Despite the benefits of procurement, officials are sometimes tempted to circumvent procurement regulations. The aim of this article is to examine the strategies used by local governmental decisionmakers to bypass procurement regulations and to analyze the rationality underlying these officials' actions. Interviews, court documents, municipal documents, and newspaper articles describing the actions of Swedish municipal officials concerning special transport service (STS) procurements were collected and analyzed. In a case in which rural municipalities lost regular taxi services after STS procurement, we demonstrate how decisions were driven by pressure from the public and local interest groups, making municipal officials deviate from procurement regulations in striving to secure the existence of regular taxi services. One outcome was that local businesses were given preferential treatment, violating regulations and reducing economic efficiency.

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