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The revolution in federal procurement, 1980–present

  • Andrew J. Taylor


This paper examines revolutionary changes in the federal procurement regime that have taken place over roughly the past thirty-five years. The procurement process has long been formalized, but contractors were dispersed across the country and tended to furnish tangible goods in singular and discrete transactions. As a result of technology, global competition and security threats, ideological shifts, and fiscal changes, procurement spending exploded after 9/11 and today the regime forms “information communities” in which private companies exert both political and economic influence and supply staffing and information to the federal government within a continuous and seamless relationship where lines demarcating responsibilities and personnel are blurred.

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Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Andrew J. Taylor, professor of political science, School of Public and International Affairs, North Carolina State University, Box 8102, Raleigh, NC 276958-8102; Tel.: 919-515-8618, email:


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Previous versions of the paper were presented to the annual meetings of the Midwest Political Science Association and Southern Political Science Association. I would like to thank Jeff Grynaviski, Trey Marchbanks, Brian Kelleher Richter, Henrik Schatzinger, and Doug Schuler for their helpful comments.



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The revolution in federal procurement, 1980–present

  • Andrew J. Taylor


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