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Is public procurement efficiency conditioned by market types? A critical test in park and road sectors in Sweden

Journal article
Authors Ylva Norén Bretzer
Bengt Persson
Thomas Barfoed Randrup
Published in International Journal of Public Sector Management
Volume 29
Issue 5
Pages 488-501
ISSN 0951-3558
Publication year 2016
Published at School of Public Administration
Pages 488-501
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1108/IJPSM-02-2016-00...
Keywords Market structure, Contracting out, Cost-efficiency, Local park management, Local road management, Metropolitan municipalities
Subject categories Other Agricultural Sciences not elsewhere specified, Public Administration Studies

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate to what extent contracting out practices has led to perceived resource cuts in the Swedish park and road sectors. Design/methodology/approach – E-survey sent to managers in park and technical departments in the municipalities. Response rate: 39.7 percent. Findings – Decreased costs were found in 25 percent of the responding road departments, in 20 percent of park departments. 49 percent of the road departments responded “ no change ” or “ increase ” (48 percent parks). Findings indicate that tendering practices tend to be most commonly centered in Swedish municipalities situated in the three metropolitan regions (Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö with suburbs), while such practices are not as common in mid-sized and rural municipalities. In addition, contracting out practices correspond with higher per capita budgets, not with smaller. Research limitations/implications – The research implications are that contracting out tend to occur “ where the resources are, ” while poorer municipalities either have to contract even if it is more expensive, or, contracting out is combined with other provision models. The limitation of the data are that it based on managers’ perceptions, while hard data have been impossible to map. Practical implications – The uniform assumption that contracting out saves public resources need to be conditioned with context, and initial resources at hand. Contracting out is one option among several possible strategies, especially for mid-sized and smaller municipalities with small budgets. Social implications – The rationalities of local government procurements are bounded by the local market situations and local the budget capacities. Originality/value – This is the first study of manager ’ s perceptions in the Swedish park and road contexts. Keywords Market structure, Contracting out, Cost-efficiency, Local park management, Local road management, Metropolitan municipalities Paper type Research paper

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