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Whatever happened to competition in space agency procurement? The case of NASA



Using the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as a case study, this paper examines how conflicting objectives in procurement policies by public space agencies result in anti-competitive procurement. Globally, public sectors have actively encouraged mergers and acquisitions of major contractors at the national level, since the end of the "Cold War", following largely from the perceived benefits of economies of size. The paper examines the impact the resulting industrial concentration has on the ability of space agencies to follow a pro-competitive procurement policy. Using time series econometric analysis, the paper shows that NASA's pro-competitive policy is unsuccessful due to a shift, since the mid-1990s, in the share of appropriations in favour of its top contractors.

Suggested Citation

  • Vasilis Zervos, 2008. "Whatever happened to competition in space agency procurement? The case of NASA," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 11, pages 221-236, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:cem:jaecon:v:11:y:2008:n:1:p:221-236

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    Cited by:

    1. Vasilis Zervos, 2011. "Conflict in Space," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Economics of Conflict, chapter 9 Edward Elgar Publishing.

    More about this item


    procurement; space industry; space agencies; NASA;

    JEL classification:

    • H57 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Procurement
    • L50 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - General
    • L60 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - General


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