Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Papers in Innovation Studies,
Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy

No 2016/5: Public procurement for innovation: lessons from the procurement of a navigable storm surge barrier

Joeri H. Wesseling () and Charles Edquist ()
Additional contact information
Joeri H. Wesseling: CIRCLE, Lund University
Charles Edquist: CIRCLE, Lund University

Abstract: Public Procurement for Innovation (PPI) is a powerful, underutilized demand-side innovation policy instrument that can be used to stimulate innovation, meet sectoral policy goals and mitigate grand challenges. Further research is required to analyze how PPI contributes to these goals and how it operates in practice; more case studies are needed to achieve this. We analyze a case of direct developmental PPI, the procurement of a navigable storm surge barrier in the Netherlands. Data from policy documents, reports and interviews were used in an event history analysis which serves to capture dynamic patterns of innovation activities. We interpret our findings in relation to the tentative lessons on PPI available in the literature. We also draw policy conclusions with respect to dealing with multiple policy goals and user needs; specifying functional requirements; levels of expertise within governments; balancing competition and cooperation; and taking risks.

Keywords: innovation policy; demand-side policy; large infrastructural project; tender; water construction sector

JEL-codes: H54; H57; O30; O31; O32; O33; O38

13 pages, February 5, 2016

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201605_Wesseling_Edquist.pdf PDF-file 

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