The present volume originates from the interaction between top public procurement practitioners and economists working at, and with, the Research Unit of the Italian Public Procurement Agency, Consip.
It is based on the belief that procurement, while representing a large share of the GDP of developed and less developed economies and occupying a substantial share of employment in the private and public sectors, suffers still from a limited variety of discussions, outside of the academic arena, on strategic economic choices regarding the optimal set-up of a tender for purchasing.
Economic research on optimal procurement design has made gigantic steps in recent decades. Still, public and private procurement centres around the world, that are often involved in a large number and variety of acquisitions, can seldom afford to hire expert consultants to allow for an optimal case-by-case procurement design (informed by frontier research). In the many relatively small acquisitions where time and financial constraints make expert economic advice and ad hoc design impossible, practitioners take crucial decisions on procurement design without guidance from recent research in the field, most of which is phrased in too technical terms to be accessed by non-researchers.
This is why in 2002 Consip, the centralized Italian Agency for Procurement of Goods and Services, created an internal Research Unit dedicated to both research and internal consulting on procurement design.