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The International Journal of Public Sector Management

Publication date: 2017-01
Volume: 30 Pages: 328 - 341
ISSN: 0951-3558, 1758-6666
DOI: 10.1108/IJPSM-10-2016-0169
Publisher: MCB University Press


Keulemans, S
Van de Walle, Steven


Public procurement, public attitudes, sustainable procurement, discriminatory procurement, cost-effectiveness, Eurobarometer., Social Sciences, Management, Business & Economics, Public procurement, Public attitudes, Sustainable procurement, Cost-effectiveness, Discriminatory procurement, Eurobarometer, BUSINESS, POLICY, 1501 Accounting, Auditing and Accountability, 1503 Business and Management, 1605 Policy and Administration, Political Science & Public Administration


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore and explain public preferences for different public procurement practices. The paper looks into public support for cost-effectiveness, discriminatory procurement in favour of domestic suppliers, and sustainable procurement. Design/methodology/approach – This study uses Eurobarometer public opinion data on 26.836 EU citizens from 27 EU countries. Findings – This paper shows that EU citizens want public authorities to evaluate multiple aspects of any procurement offer in their public procurement decisions. It also found that, although cost-effectiveness and domestic favouritism are still important to EU citizens, citizens are most supportive of the objectives of sustainable procurement. Some associations between citizens’ procurement preferences and their social characteristics and political attitudes were found. Country of residence has the strongest association with citizens’ acceptance of the objectives of sustainable procurement. Research limitations/implications – The explanatory power of the models tested in this study is rather low, meaning that the predictors explain citizen procurement preferences only to a limited extent. Also, even though the data contain information on the procurement preferences of a large number of EU citizens, it is a topic of inquiry that is sensitive to social desirability bias. Originality/value – This paper contributes to the empirical understanding of public attitudes toward public procurement. It is one of few studies on citizen attitudes toward different public procurement practices.