Sustainability policy objectives, centralized decision making, and efficiency in public procurement processes in U.S. local governments

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Some U.S. local governments are leveraging public procurement to meet their sustainability goals. However, does the simultaneous pursuit of multiple sustainability objectives potentially slow down the speed of procurement processes? We suggest that the simultaneous pursuit of multiple sustainability objectives through procurement is related to decision making speed. Additionally, we argue that centralized decision-making structures might moderate this relationship. Drawing on a representative sample of more than 200 U.S. local governments, we demonstrate that for low-cost purchases, as the number of policy objectives increases, so too does the average length of time for approval. We also find evidence of an interactive relationship between decision-making structures and the number of existing sustainability policies pursued simultaneously. For routine low-cost and routine high-cost purchases, we find evidence that as the centralization of procurement decision making increases, the marginal effect of purchasing complexity on approval times decreases. These findings offer important evidence about how pursuing multiple sustainability objectives affect decision-making efficiency and how decision-making structures might facilitate U.S local governments' integration of sustainability objectives into their existing internal processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6934
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Volume12
Issue number17
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2020

Keywords

  • Procurement decision making
  • Public administration
  • Social sustainability
  • Sustainable public procurement
  • Sustainable public purchasing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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