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Autonomy Versus Control in Procurement and Contracting: the Use of Cost-Reimbursement Contracts in Three US Federal Departments

Journal Title International Review of Administrative Sciences
Published Date March 01, 2017
Research Type
Authors Trevor Brown


This article examines the efficacy of central attempts to influence the use of specific types of contracts, namely, cost-reimbursement versus fixed-price contracts, by individual departments within a decentralized procurement system. We draw five years of data (Fiscal Years 2004–2008) from the Federal Procurement Data System to examine the contract type decisions of three US federal agencies: the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Homeland Security. The results of our analysis suggest that while departments have discretion to purchase products that meet their mission requirements, there is relative uniformity in the reliance on cost-reimbursement versus fixed-price contracts.

Autonomy versus control in procurement and contracting: the use of cost-reimbursement contracts in three US federal departments
YW Kim, T Brown
International Review of Administrative Sciences 83 (1_suppl), 41-58