Roskilde University, Department of Social Sciences and Business

Research field

Public Administration

Research leader

Ole Helby Petersen

Professor Mso, PhD, born 1980

Project title

Contracts Between the Public and Private Sector

What is your project about?

The Danish public sector purchases goods and services in contracts with the private sector for almost DKK 1 billion every day. The purpose of this project is to understand what skills and competencies public organizations need to enter into successful contracts with the private sector. We first develop new theory about the importance of public sector skills and competences for the performance of contracts with the private sector. Next, we conduct a randomized national field experiment where we train public purchasers in different types of contract competencies and measure the performance of contracts actually concluded between public and private organizations.

How did you become interested in your particular field of research?

Throughout my work as a researcher, I have been interested in the interaction between the public and the private sector. Both my own and others' research shows that contracts between the two sectors hold great potential. Unfortunately, there are also several examples of contracts and collaborations failing. This knowledge has inspired me to work theoretically and experimentally to understand how better contracts can be created between the public and private sectors.

What are the scientific challenges and perspectives in your project?

The project is both theoretically, methodically and empirically challenging. We need to develop new theory about the relationship between public contract skills and the performance of contracts with the private sector. Methodically, we must design and conduct a randomized national field experiment among a large number of municipal and regional purchasers, which we must persuade to participate in the research project. Finally, we need to develop a systematic approach to collecting and analyzing data for a very large number of public sector contracts.

What is your estimate of the impact, which your project may have to society in the long term?

The project will contribute new knowledge about what skills and competencies the public sector needs to enter into successful contracts with the private sector. In this way, the results of the research can hopefully add value to the more than DKK 350 billion contracts between the public and private sectors. We will disseminate our findings and inisghts to the public and the private sector both during and after the project, so that the results can hopefully contribute to creating even better contracts between the public and private sector in the future.

Which impact do you expect the Sapere Aude programme will have on your career as a researcher?

The Sapere Aude program is a unique opportunity to build a leading Danish and international research group. It provides an opportunity to focus on the development of new theoretical and empirical insights that can hopefully leave a lasting mark on the international research. For me personally, the grant provides an opportunity to build close and long-term collaboration with some of the world's leading researchers in my field.

Background and personal life

I live with my wife and two children in Frederiksberg. I spend a lot of time at work, and I spend my free time with family, friends and doing as much sports as life with small kids allows.

City of your current residence

Frederiksberg

High school

Borupgaard Gymnasium