Volume 12, Number 3, Fall 2012

Editorial .......................................................................................................................................................................................... iv
K. V. Thai

Public Contract Writing Systems: A House Divided ....................................................................................................................... 295
R. E. Lloy

SYMPOSIUM

Symposium on Exploring the Frontiers in Public Procurement: Moving Past Tradition, Part I ……............................................... 323
A. V. Roman, K. V. Thai, and C. McCue

Symposium Introduction ……......................................................................................................................................................... 324
A. V. Roman, K. V. Thai, and C. McCue

An Exploration of Management Competencies in Public Sector Procurement .............................................................................. 333
D. McKevitt, P. Davis, R. Woldring, K. Smith, A. Flynn and
E. McEvoy

After Katrina: Comparisons of Post-Disaster Public Procurement Approaches and Outcomes in The New Orleans Area ........... 356
C. L. Atkinson and A. K. Sapat

The Excessive Profits of Defense Contractors: Evidence and Determinants ............…………….................................................. 386
C. Wang and J. San Miguel

Different Design – Different Cost: An Empirical Analysis of Combinatorial Public Procurement Bidding of Road Maintenance ... 407
A. Lunander and S. Lundberg

ABSTRACT. This paper is an empirical analysis of first-price sealed-bid procurement auctions in Sweden, with and without combinatorial bidding. The data comprises procurement auctions of identical contracts (road resurfacing) with identical bidders conducted under the same time period (2009-2011) in two different regions in Sweden. Given the comparison of the suppliers’ offered price per tons of asphalt, we cannot reject the hypothesis of identical distribution of standalone bids generated in both types of auction. The distribution of package bids within the combinatorial format is significantly lower than the distribution of standalone bids within the non-combinatorial format, suggesting substantial cost reduction of allowing package bidding. Also, within the combinatorial format, our analysis of data indicates higher costs when packages are predetermined by the purchaser rather than chosen freely by the suppliers.

ABSTRACT. There is currently much debate about the meaning of competency and its importance to professionalization. This article explores the personal meaning and importance of competency from the perspective of public buyers and managers in Ireland and the UK. Using an in-depth mixed method research design, we propose a typology of public procurement competency and discuss the implications of the framework for professionalization of public procurement.

ABSTRACT. A long controversial issue that divides academics, government officials, elected representatives, and the U.S. defense industry is whether defense contractors earn abnormal or excessive profits at the expense of taxpayers. Using an innovative industry-year-size matched measure of excessive profit, we demonstrate three findings. First, when compared with their industry peers, defense contractors earn excessive profits. This result is evident when profit is measured by Return on Assets (ROA), Return on excessive profit is less consistent if profit is measured by Operating Margin Ratio (OMR). Secondly, defense contractors’ excessive profit is more pronounced after 1992, consistent with the conjecture that the post-1992 significant industry consolidation enabled superior profitability due to boththe improved bargaining power and increased political influence of the newly combined firms. Finally, defense contractors’ excessive profitability increases with poorer corporate governance, as measured by the duality of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and the Chairman of the Board.

ABSTRACT. This paper examines automated contract writing systems, a vital aspect of public procurement which has replaced the more manual methods of drafting of contracts used in the past. Using the system of the U.S. federal government as an illustration, the various components of a contract writing system are detailed and discussed, distinguishing contract writing from eprocurement and demonstrating how a bifurcated approach has been adopted for contracting automation. The larger implications of this dual nature are analyzed along with misconceptions about contract writing systems and the contrast between the perspectives of procurement versus finance. Future research devoted more to cross-disciplinary issues and human factors affecting contract writing, rather than just systems development issues, may offer an opportunity to improve the effectiveness of public procurement automation.

ABSTRACT. Hurricane Katrina remains the “most destructive disaster in U.S. history” (Farber & Chen, 2006). The purpose of this article is to examine the public procurement practices followed by local government officials in and around New Orleans within the context of Hurricane Katrina, and define impacts of disaster on procurement processes. Original and primary data drawn from interviews with officials working in and with public procurement are used to examine the role of institutional culture and practices which encourage or constrain active, responsible behavior. We find that this behavior influences the quality, including the transparency and fairness, of purchasing responses.

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