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Policy diffusion in public procurement: the role of free trade agreements

Woolcock, Stephen (2013) Policy diffusion in public procurement: the role of free trade agreements. International Negotiation, 18 (1). pp. 153-173. ISSN 1382-340X

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Identification Number: 10.1163/15718069-12341248


This article assesses the factors shaping policy diffusion of effective, liberal public procurement regimes. Policy diffusion and the analysis of policy diffusion is less developed in public procurement than other policy areas such as investment. This is surprising given the potential economic (public procurement accounts for some 8% of GDP) and signaling (transparency, good governance) gains of adopting regimes that promote competition in public procurement markets. The article first provides an introduction to the issue of public procurement and discusses the nature of procurement regimes, the dependent variable. It then assesses the impact of key variables identified in the literature on policy diffusion, such as competition, coercion and norm emulation. It is argued that issue linkage in bilateral free trade agreements (FTA) appears to have brought about common laws – and in some cases – rules for procurement. But this stops short of a genuine diffusion of liberal procurement regimes due to negotiations being framed by reciprocity rather than efficiency considerations, the costs and complexity of implementation, as well as opposition from vested sector interests and politicians at all levels of government favoring the short term political utility of ‘buy local’ policies.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2013 Koninklijke Brill NV
Divisions: International Relations
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
H Social Sciences > HJ Public Finance
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2013 11:07
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 01:34

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