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Implications of EU public procurement law on water service governance: the case of Italy

Implications of EU public procurement law on water service governance: the case of Italy

Lobina, Emanuele ORCID: 0000-0003-4774-0308 and Marra, Alessandro (2009) Implications of EU public procurement law on water service governance: the case of Italy. In: Second Annual Conference on Competition and Regulation in Network Industries, 20 Nov 2009, Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), Brussels, Belgium. (Unpublished)

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EU public procurement law identifies competitive tendering as the primary instrument for the selection of operators in the water sector. However, the merits of competition for the market are highly contested in the literature and theoretical debate. This paper looks at empirical evidence from Italy and assesses the implications of competitive tendering on “good governance”, with particular reference to efficiency, transparency and accountability. We draw on the policy networks tradition to capture the interdependency of actors’ interests, actors’ resources and applicable rules. Our analytical framework allows us to identify the structural limitations of competitive tendering and the associated regulation by contract. More precisely, we observe the combined effect of resource allocation (in terms of asymmetry of knowledge and power) and the nature of the applicable rules (e.g. ex-ante regulation and long term contracts). This allows for interest-seeking behaviour during both the tendering procedure and the execution of the contract. In turn, opportunistic behaviour undermines the achievement of both governance and reform objectives. Finally, we posit that introducing stronger transparency, accountability and participatory mechanisms would align actors’ interests to intended reform objectives. We put forward the following hypothesis for further empirical testing. The strengthening of governance requires the creation of opportunities for: a) involving civil society in decision making and the monitoring of operations; b) investing in the knowledge of actors participating in decision making and monitoring; c) sanctioning behaviour unaligned with reform objectives through simple and effective rules.

Item Type: Conference or Conference Paper (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: water service governance, competitive tendering, policy networks, Italy, EU law, in-house provision
Subjects: T Technology > TD Environmental technology. Sanitary engineering
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Business > Department of International Business & Economics
Faculty of Business > Centre for Work and Employment Research (CREW) > Public Services International Research Unit (PSIRU)
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Last Modified: 17 Mar 2019 17:00

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