Government contracts and contractor behavior

Journal of Business Ethics 63 (2):119 - 130 (2006)
The U.S. government embraces the concepts of privatization and market competition, but the realm of contracting shows that it has not always been able to put its principles into practice. Although the contracting system is supposed to be open and competitive, in recent years the government has often awarded contracts with little or no competitive bidding, has chosen to award mostly cost-plus type contracts that force the government to assume more of the risk, and lacked efficiency in monitoring and overseeing private contractors. While the number and value of contracts have increased, the workforce to oversee these contracts has been reduced, preventing the government from adequately enforcing compliance with the contractors, and the government has not made use of past performance evaluations in its contracting system. Private contractors that do business with the U.S. government are for the most part well-established firms with ample resources and inside contacts; many contracts are still being awarded on preferential treatment and to the larger and well-established contractors.
Keywords contracting  contractor behavior  cost-overruns  government procurement  past performance
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