New Global Studies
Ed. by Chanda, Nayan / Iriye, Akira / Mazlish, Bruce / Sassen, Saskia
3 Issues per year
Public procurement in cities is one of the most exciting and under-studied governmental processes, offering an interesting angle into the real state of globalization in cities, the political and bureaucratic battle for the identity of government in connected markets and provides an indication of the intention of city governments to work in a globalized or de-globalizing world.
557,000 city and municipal governments procure an estimated 10% of world GDP in goods and services annually to serve their communities. In a perfectly globalized world, we would expect a single market to develop around these needs with competitors differentiating on cost, effectiveness and strategic value.
Yet, after decades of globalizing trends and announcements by Mayors to collaborate on global challenges, we have few indications that this has happened. Instead of rational, standardized transactions to deploy what works best, each procurement carried out by city and municipal governments is a complex battleground of vested local interests, strategic goals and public messaging.
In place of policymaking and adopting proven practices, cities appear simply to muddle through, one transaction at a time. Despite more open governments and transparency, there is a universal lack of data as to how these battles are fought.