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State and Local Government Procurement and the Winter Commission


Matthew Potoski is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at Iowa State University, where he teaches courses on public policy and management. The topics of his research include public sector contract management and voluntary regulations. He is the coauthor of The Voluntary Environmentalists (Cambridge University Press, 2006) with Aseem Prakash and coeditor of the International Public Management Journal.


The Winter Commission proposed a state and local government procurement reform agenda that placed public managers at the core of a depoliticized, deregulated, and more pragmatic public sector contracting process. Drawing on the literature and data from several state and local government surveys, this article shows that between 1992 and 2003, state and local governments’ contracting practices moved in directions consistent with the commission’s reform agenda. By 2003, state and local governments had decentralized and deregulated their contracting processes, were contracting more effectively and in circumstances in which it is more likely to be successful, and had adopted several innovative technologies and management practices.