Public Procurement and Competition: Some Challenges Arising from Recent Developments in EU Public Procurement Law
Bovis, C. (ed.) Research Handbook on European Public Procurement, Forthcoming
50 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2013 Last revised: 6 Aug 2015
Date Written: January 24, 2013
The relationship between public procurement and competition has recently been receiving an increasing amount of attention, both in academic and policymaking circles. It is becoming common ground that public procurement holds a complex and bidirectional relationship with market competition and that, consequently, a tighter link between public procurement and competition law enforcement needs to be established.
This paper explores the recent OECD push for more competition in public procurement and its role as an influential factor in the ongoing reform of EU public procurement rules. Afterwards, it critically assesses three of the main challenges to keeping public procurement precompetitive: (i) the difficult balance in terms of procurement transparency created by the clash between competition and corruption concerns; (ii) the magnification of the undesired (potential) anticompetitive effects of public procurement that centralised procurement may generate, as well as its increasing use as an improper tool of market regulation; and (iii) the possible competitive distortions and the potential advantages resulting from the generalization of eProcurement. The conclusions extract some common patterns derived from the previous analysis and suggest some policy recommendations mainly oriented at boosting oversight and professionalization of procurement.
Keywords: public procurement, distortions of competition, bid rigging, oversight, reform
JEL Classification: H57, K21, K23, K42
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