Last month “The Palgrave Handbook of Public Administration and Management in Europe” edited by Edoardo Ongaro and Sandra van Thiel was published.
This Handbook offers a systematic review of state-of-the-art knowledge on public administration in Europe. Covering the theoretical, epistemological and practical aspects of the field, it focuses on how public administration operates and is studied in European countries. In sixty-three chapters, written by leading scholars, this Handbook considers the uniqueness of the European situation through an interdisciplinary and comparative lens, focusing on the administrative diversity which results from the multiplicity of countries, languages, schools of thought and streams of investigation across Europe. It addresses issues such as multi-level administration and governance, intensive cross country cooperation in administrative reform policy, and public accountability under different systems. It also considers the issue of welfare service delivery, at a time of major economic and societal challenges, as well as understudied emerging issues like the dynamics of public sector negotiations.
In this handbook I wrote a chapter on public procurement in Europe. In the European Union over 2,50,000 public authorities spend around 14% of GDP procuring goods, services, and works. Being the biggest spender in the EU allows public organisations to use their procurement to apply leverage to certain policy objectives. Despite the massive impact that public procurement has on the market, economy, public organisations, citizens, and businesses, it has neither been recognised within public administration research as an important policy instrument, nor has it matured into an academic field (yet). This chapter therefore seeks to shed light on public procurement as a key topic within the field of public administration in Europe, by discussing what it is, what distinguishes it from private procurement, and how it evolved as a management function into a policy tool.