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Understanding the Innovation Impacts of Public Procurement


  • Elvira Uyarra
  • Kieron Flanagan


Public procurement accounts for a significant proportion of overall demand for goods and services and is increasingly seen as an attractive and feasible instrument for furthering the goals of innovation policy. However, public procurement is already expected to address a wide range of social goals. Much of the current debate about harnessing procurement to promote innovation draws upon a limited set of examples which are not representative of the bulk of public purchasing and tend to downplay diversity in procurement practices and in the types of goods and services procured. They also downplay diversity in the nature of innovations and in the range of ways that procurement can impact upon innovation. A one-size-fits-all model is unlikely to work across all procurement contexts yet all types of public procurement are likely to have impacts upon innovation by shaping the demand environment in which suppliers innovate and compete. We propose a framework and typology based on the nature of the goods and services procured in order to explore the potential impacts upon markets and innovation of each. We conclude that public purchasing should first and foremost remain concerned with proximate public policy goals and that, rather than trying to co-opt public procurement into the innovation policy toolbox, policy-makers should focus on promoting innovation-friendly practices across all types of procurement at all levels of governance.

Suggested Citation

  • Elvira Uyarra & Kieron Flanagan, 2009. "Understanding the Innovation Impacts of Public Procurement," European Planning Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(1), pages 123-143, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:eurpls:v:18:y:2009:i:1:p:123-143
    DOI: 10.1080/09654310903343567

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Marco Guerzoni, 2010. "The impact of market size and users' sophistication on innovation: the patterns of demand," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(1), pages 113-126.
    2. Aschhoff, Birgit & Sofka, Wolfgang, 2009. "Innovation on demand--Can public procurement drive market success of innovations?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(8), pages 1235-1247, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Anna Giunta & Massimo Florio & Francesco Giffoni & Emanuela Sirtori, 2017. "Big Science, Learning And Innovation: Evidence From Cern Procurement," Departmental Working Papers of Economics - University 'Roma Tre' 0225, Department of Economics - University Roma Tre.
    2. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2017:i:1:p:67-:d:124678 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Valeria De Bonis, 2016. "Innovation, competition and public procurement in the pre-commercial phase," Public Finance Research Papers 23, Istituto di Economia e Finanza, DIGEF, Sapienza University of Rome.
    4. Rolfstam, Max & Phillips, Wendy & Bakker, Elmer, 2009. "Public Procurement of Innovation Diffusion: Exploring the Role of Institutions and Institutional Coordination," Papers in Innovation Studies 2009/7, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
    5. Jillian Yeow & Elvira Uyarra & Sally Gee, 2015. "Closing the loop: examining the case of the procurement of a sustainable innovation," Chapters,in: Public Procurement for Innovation, chapter 9, pages 235-262 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. Edquist , Charles & Zabala-Iturriagagoitia , Jon Mikel, 2012. "Why Pre-Commercial Procurement is notInnovation Procurement," Papers in Innovation Studies 2012/11, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
    7. Edquist , Charles, 2015. "Innovation-related Public Procurement as a Demand-oriented Innovation Policy Instrument," Papers in Innovation Studies 2015/28, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
    8. Ville Valovirta, 2015. "Building capability for public procurement of innovation," Chapters,in: Public Procurement for Innovation, chapter 3, pages 65-86 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    9. Chicot, J. & Matt, M., 2015. "Public procurement of innovation: a review of rationales, instruments and design," Working Papers 2015-05, Grenoble Applied Economics Laboratory (GAEL).
    10. Andrey V. Tkachenko & Andrei A. Yakovlev & Olga A. Demidova & Irina O. Volmenskikh, 2014. "The Effects Of Regulatory Reforms On Public Procurement: The Case Of A National University In Russia," HSE Working papers WP BRP 19/PA/2014, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    11. RAITERI Emilio, 2015. "A time to nourish? Evaluating the impact of innovative public procurement on technological generality through patent data," Cahiers du GREThA 2015-05, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
    12. Nsiah-Asare, Evelyn & Prempeh, Kwadwo Boateng, 2016. "Measures of Ensuring Value for Money in Public Procurement: A Case of Selected Polytechnics in Ghana," MPRA Paper 70051, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Jakob Edler & Luke Georghiou & Elvira Uyarra & Jillian Yeow, 2015. "The meaning and limitations of public procurement for innovation: a supplier’s experience," Chapters,in: Public Procurement for Innovation, chapter 2, pages 35-64 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    14. Francesco Crespi & Dario Guarascio, 2017. "The demand-pull effect of public procurement on innovation and industrial renewal," LEM Papers Series 2017/20, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    15. Max Nathan & Emma Vandore, 2013. "Here Be Startups: Exploring a young digital cluster in Inner East London," SERC Discussion Papers 0146, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
    16. Guerzoni, Marco & Raiteri, Emilio, 2012. "Innovative public procurement and R&D Subsidies: hidden treatment and new empirical evidence on the technology policy mix in a quasi-experimental setting," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis LEI & BRICK - Laboratory of Economics of Innovation "Franco Momigliano", Bureau of Research in Innovation, Complexity and Knowledge, Collegio 201218, University of Turin.
    17. Nathan, Max & Vandore, Emma, 2013. "Here be startups: exploring a young digital cluster in inner East London," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 58424, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    18. Vecchiato, Riccardo & Roveda, Claudio, 2014. "Foresight for public procurement and regional innovation policy: The case of Lombardy," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 438-450.

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