Introducción. Importancia y repercusión del contrato menor (Introduction. The Importance and Repercussion of Small Procurement Contracts)

In CANDELA TALAVERO, J.E. & BENITEZ OSTOS, A. (2021) "Manual sobre el contrato menor". Madrid, Aranzadi, pp. 29-55.

19 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2020 Last revised: 13 Apr 2021

See all articles by Manuel Peláez Muras

Manuel Peláez Muras

Autonomous University of Madrid ; Banco de España

Date Written: June 4, 2020

Abstract

Spanish Abstract:El contrato menor arrastra muy mala fama. Seguramente desde siempre, como toda decisión discrecional de adjudicación de recursos limitados, pero en los últimos años ha recibido una atención mediática y doctrinal creciente, generalmente en sentido crítico y muy negativo, espoleada por los escándalos de corrupción en los que se ha hecho un uso irregular de esta figura. Se han dictado normas e instrucciones para regularlo y se ha ido arrinconando como un contrato sospechoso, que se califica de «excepcional» e incluso incompatible con los principios generales del derecho europeo de los contratos públicos.

Pero, ¿es de verdad excepcional el contrato menor? En este trabajo trato de responder a esa pregunta, concluyendo que no, a partir del análisis de la normativa española y de los países de nuestro entorno, en el que el menor español no es una rara avis ni mucho menos, y de ciertos condicionantes económicos, en los que la doctrina dominante no suele reparar, que hacen que los principios de la contratación se comporten de manera diferente en los contratos de pequeño importe.

Expuesta la lógica económica del contrato menor, concluyo con algunas propuestas de mejora e “higienización” del contrato menor y de la contratación pública en general, que deben venir de la gestión más que del derecho.

English Abstract: Small public contracts (‘contratos menores’ in Spain, which are often the result of a direct award) have a very bad reputation. Surely it has been so always, as arguably happens with any discretionary allocation of limited resources. However, in the recent years ‘contratos menores’ have received increasing media and scholarly attention, generally in critical and very negative terms, prompted by corruption scandals in which a bad use of this procurement tool has been made. Legal rules and orders have been issued to regulate small contracts, which have been seen as a suspicious kind of contract, described as “exceptional" or even incompatible with the general principles of the European public procurement law.

But are small contracts really exceptional? In this work I attempt to answer this question. I conclude that they are not. conclusion is negative, relying on the analysis of the regulation in Spain and other countries around us, among which the Spanish ‘contrato menor’ is far from being a rare bird, as well as on certain economic factors largely disregarded by the streamline academia, which make the procurement principles function in a different way with respect to low-value contracts.

Once the economic rationale of small contracts is shown, the work is finished with a number of proposals for the improvement and "sanitation" of small contracts and public procurement in general, which require better management rather than more or different regulations.

Note: Downloadable document available in Spanish.

Keywords: Public Procurement, Government Procurement, Low Value Public Contracts, Direct Award, Principles of Efficiency and Transparency

JEL Classification: K23, K12

Suggested Citation

Peláez Muras, Manuel, Introducción. Importancia y repercusión del contrato menor (Introduction. The Importance and Repercussion of Small Procurement Contracts) (June 4, 2020). In CANDELA TALAVERO, J.E. & BENITEZ OSTOS, A. (2021) "Manual sobre el contrato menor". Madrid, Aranzadi, pp. 29-55., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3618961 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3618961

Manuel Peláez Muras (Contact Author)

Autonomous University of Madrid ( email )

Campus Cantoblanco
C/Kelsen, 1
Madrid, 28049
Spain

Banco de España ( email )

Alcala 50
Madrid 28014
Spain

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