Special Issue: Festschrift for Graham Ive

First draft submissions due 14 Jan 2014

Background and rational

Mr. Graham Ive has decided to retire from the Bartlett School of Construction and Project Management of University College London in 2012. In nearly 40 years of service in UCL, he has been a significant contributor to construction economics and a much-respected educator for students and colleagues. His involvement in the CM&E editorial board in the past 20-plus years as both reviewer and author has been an important source of new insights to the journal, making it an ideal venue to commemorate his intellectual achievement.

Mr. Ive is a visionary thinker. One of his long-cherished wishes is the establishment of construction economics as a recognizable independent academic discipline. In this special issue, apart from the traditional purpose of a festschrift (e.g., those for Dr. Patricia Hillebrandt in 1994 and Professor Ranko Bon in 2007), it is also intended to explore the way forward by tracing the developmental trajectory of individual topics of construction economics against the progress of research on these topics in mainstream economics. Since its inception in 1983, CM&E has gradually established itself as a leading forum for construction economists. To some extent, the development of CM&E epitomizes that of construction economics itself. Some papers in this issue will review past construction economics papers in CM&E specifically; whilst others will more broadly review the construction economics literature as a whole. By these means the aim of this Special Issue is to reveal a comprehensive picture of the current state of construction economics whereby we can map out a plan for the future to accelerate catch-up with mainstream economics. It is hoped that this issue will be invaluable for anyone interested in the past, present and future of construction economics.


The construction industry is one of the mainstays of any economy, but the development of economic theory of construction industry, construction firms and construction projects has generally been sluggish. Ofori (1994) concluded that “construction economics cannot be described as a bona fide academic discipline. It lacks a clear indication of its main concerns and contents and a coherent theory. It is not recognized as a distinct part of general economics.” Ive and Chang (2007) revisited the same issue a decade later, finding CM&E to contain little “pure economics of construction’, that is, papers with theory references solely to economics literature, but to contain more papers at the interface between economics and management, as measured by roughly equal citation of each type of source of ideas.”

While construction economics has not made significant theoretical strides in recent decades, economists have shown keener interest in aspects of construction practice. Examples include works on contract forms (Bajari and Tadelis 2001, Ewerhart and Fieseler 2003), award procedure (Tadelis and Bajari 2006, Ganuza 2007, Hensher and Stanley 2008, Bajari, Mcmillan and Tadelis 2009), risk sharing (Olsen and Osmundsen 2005), subcontracting (Tadelis 2002), bidding behaviour (Bajari, Houghton and Tadelis 2006), procurement efficiency (Jensen and Stonecash 2005), tender design (Lewis and Bajari 2011a, b), corruption in procurement (Auriol 2006), general lessons learnt in public procurement (Levin and Tadelis 2010, Tadelis 2012) and Public-Private Partnerships (Hart 2003, Maskin and Tirole 2008, De Bettignies and Ross 2009, Francesconi and Muthoo 2011). These developments reveal a glimpse of hope that construction economics could find its way to make impacts on mainstream economics, and hopefully prompt a new wave of enthusiasm among construction economists.

The papers we hope to collect for this Special Issue will differ from the review papers on construction economics that have previously appeared in CM&E in two aspects: first, the focus is more on comparing and contrasting the development of a specific topic in both mainstream economics and construction economics (and less on the body of knowledge of construction economics itself) and second, authors will formulate recommendations on how to improve the current state of scholarship in construction economics. The Guest Editor will put together these recommendations in an effort to paint a complete picture for the past, present and future of construction economics.

The evaluation of the current state and suggestions for the way forward will make up the backbone of the whole issue and thus the quality of insights from individual contributors is critical to its success. For this reason, the contributors are expected to be leaders on the research of specific topics.


As this issue is aimed at offering a definite account of where construction economics stands in comparison to the scholarship of mainstream economics, so it should be able to attract international readership from academic, government and industry alike, and, perhaps, the attention of researchers from contiguous disciplines who intend to explore and explain construction practices.

Author guidelines

The content of each paper should satisfy at least one of two requirements: (1) an assessment of achievements of applications of economic theory in the recent literature of construction economics; (2) critical review that identifies economic theory literature that has not yet been applied in construction economics, but which in author’s view has the potential to be so applied. Ideally papers should conclude with recommendations for how to move towards a more fruitful relationship between mainstream economics and construction economics. The length of papers should conform to the general requirements of the journal.

The call is open for submission of abstracts. Once accepted, the selected authors will be invited to put forward their full papers. All contributions will go through a double-blind peer review process. The Guest Editor for the special issue is happy to discuss ideas for papers:

Dr Chen-yu Chang, e-mail: chen-yu.chang@ucl.ac.uk


  • Call for abstracts: 1 Feb 2013
  • Invitation to submit full papers: 14 Jun 2013
  • First draft submissions (4 mths to prepare MS): 14 Jan 2014
  • Decision with referee comments (3 mths): 14 Apr 2014
  • Revised papers (3 mths): 14 Jul 2014
  • Final submission and final edits (2 mths): 14 Nov 2014
  • Production (2 mths): 14 Jan 2015
  • Publication: 1 Feb 2015


Auriol, E (2006) Corruption in procurement and public purchase. International Journal of Industrial Organization, 24(5), 867-85.

Bajari, P and Tadelis, S (2001) Incentives versus transaction costs: A theory of procurement contracts. RAND Journal of Economics, 32(3), 387-407.

Bajari, P, Houghton, S and Tadelis, S (2006) Bidding for incomplete contracts: An empirical analysis, National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MA.

Bajari, P, McMillan, R and Tadelis, S (2009) Auctions versus negotiations in procurement: an empirical analysis. Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, 25(2), 372-99.

De Bettignies, J E and Ross, T W (2009) Public-private partnerships and the privatization of financing: An incomplete contracts approach. International Journal of Industrial Organization, 27(3), 358-68.

Ewerhart, C and Fieseler, K (2003) Procurement auctions and unit-price contracts. RAND Journal of Economics, 34(3), 569-81.

Francesconi, M and Muthoo, A (2011) Control rights in complex partnerships. Journal of the European Economic Association, 9(3), 551-589.

Ganuza, J J (2007) Competition and cost overruns in procurement. The Journal of Industrial Economics, 55(4), 633-60.

Hart, O (2003) Incomplete contracts and public ownership: remarks, and an application to public‐private partnerships. The Economic Journal, 113(486), C69-C76.

Hensher, D A and Stanley, J (2008) Transacting under a performance-based contract: the role of negotiation and competitive tendering. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 42(9), 1143-51.

Ive, G and Chang, C Y (2007) Have the economics of construction got closer to becoming a recognized sub-discipline of economics? Can it to do? In, Hughes, W P (ed) Procs CME 25 Conference, Reading, UK, 22.

Jensen, P H and Stonecash, R E (2005) Incentives and the efficiency of public sector‐outsourcing contracts. Journal of economic Surveys, 19(5), 767-87.

Levin, J and Tadelis, S (2010) Contracting for government services: theory and evidence from us cities. The Journal of Industrial Economics, 58(3), 507-41.

Lewis, G and Bajari, P (2011a) Procurement contracting with time incentives: theory and evidence. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 126(3), 1173-211.

Lewis, G and Bajari, P (2011b) Incentives and adaptation: evidence from highway procurement in Minnesota, National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MA.

Maskin, E and Tirole, J (2008) Public-private partnerships and government spending limits. International Journal of Industrial Organization, 26(2), 412-20.

Ofori, G (1994) Establishing construction economics as an academic discipline. Construction Management and Economics, 12(4), 295-306.

Olsen, T E and Osmundsen, P (2005) Sharing of endogenous risk in construction. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 58(4), 511-26.

Tadelis, S (2002) Complexity, flexibility, and the make-or-buy decision. The American Economic Review, 92(2), 433-7.

Tadelis, S (2012) Public procurement design: Lessons from the private sector. International Journal of Industrial Organization, 30(3), 297–302.

Tadelis, S and Bajari, P (2006) Incentives and award procedure: Competitive tendering vs. negotiations in procurement. In: Dimitri, N, Piga, G and Spagnolo, G (Eds.), Handbook of procurement, 121-39, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.



About Will

Professor of Construction Management and Economics, University of Reading, UK. Editor-in-Chief, Construction Management and Economics (1992-2016). Programme Director, MSc Construction Management. School Director of Postgraduate Teaching Programmes.
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