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Stimulating competition in the road paving market

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Complete with results
STRIA Roadmaps
Infrastructure (INF)
Transport mode
Road icon
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

The Swedish market for road construction and maintenance is often described as having a problem with sufficient competition. Similar countries have more dynamic markets with an adequate number of bidders on each contract, the argument goes. However, analysis often ends there, with little or no empirical underpinning.


The aim of this report is to map competition in the road market in Norway, Denmark, England and Germany with quantitative data and comparing it to the Swedish case. 


A concentration ratio, the market share of the four largest firms in relation to the whole market, is used as a key indicator. This measurement is completed with a comparison between the analysed countries regarding market institutions and initiatives to strengthen competition. This discussion is based on interviews with representatives of the supplier side. The focus is on the possibility of more firms entering the market, especially small and medium sized enterprises (SME).


The most notable result is that Sweden has a high concentration in the market for roads, compared to the other countries. In addition to the high degree of market concentration, the Swedish market composition remains the same throughout the investigated period. This is contrasted with England, which has the most concentrated market in the sample but where the composition of the four largest companies changes over the years. Weighing market concentration and market dynamics together, Sweden is found to have less competition than the other analysed countries.

From a theoretical standpoint, it is not obvious that it is beneficial to solely promote SME participation in public procurement. Making contracts small to enhance competition entails the cost of losing potential economies of scale. However, from the high concentration on the Swedish market there is potentially a lot to win by breaking up the four largest companies market power.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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