Lauren Dahlin

Date of Award


First Advisor

Daniel Neilson

Second Advisor

Asma Abbas


Since 2001, the United States federal government has spent more money on the modification of existing contracts than it has on the creation of new contracts. This thesis studies the reasons for contract modification and places the relationship between government and contractor at the heart of the discourse. First, the history of contract law is studied to show how law and politics have shaped the role of the contracting officer (bureaucrat) over the last half century, leading to a system that supports extensive contract modification. Then, through statistical analysis, it is shown that a prior relationship between government and contractor is related to fewer contract modifications in the future. Finding hope in the role that relationships play in determining contractual outcomes, this thesis concludes by remarking on the future of governance in a world where contracting officers redefine the line between public and private on a daily basis.

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