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Bypassing public procurement regulation: A study of rationality in local decisionmaking

Authors

  • Lisa Hansson,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Mobility, Actors and Planning Processes, Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute
      Lisa Hansson, Department of Mobility, Actors and Planning Processes, Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute, SE-581 95 Linköping, Sweden. Email: lisa.hansson@vti.se
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  • Johan Holmgren

    1. Division of Communications and Transport Systems, Department of Science and Technology, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
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Lisa Hansson, Department of Mobility, Actors and Planning Processes, Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute, SE-581 95 Linköping, Sweden. Email: lisa.hansson@vti.se

Abstract

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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