This paper provides a comparative perspective of public procurement policies for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in the United States and Europe. Public procurement is increasingly recognized as a strategic function of public administration because of the huge amount of resources it consumes, as well as the important policy objectives it seeks to promote, including SME-related objectives. Progress towards meeting SME procurement participation goals, however, remains elusive on both sides of the Atlantic. Policy makers and administrators have little comparative research upon which to draw regarding the effectiveness of various policy approaches, a shortcoming this paper seeks to address. An institutional perspective is adopted which helps explain similarities and differences in U.S. and European SME policies.