Corruption and the Network Structure of Public Contracting Markets across Government Change

Wachs J. and Fazekas M. (2020). Corruption and the Network Structure of Public Contracting Markets across Government Change. Politics and Governance, 8(2), pp. 153-166.

Corruption is thought to affect developed economies to a greater degree than developing countries. However, given our limited capacity to detect corruption, it may simply be harder to detect it in countries with stronger institutions. This article sets out to address this measurement challenge and to offer a tailored approach to one particular type of corruption: …

Read More

The role of agencification in achieving value-for-money in public spending

Cingolani L. & Fazekas, M. (2020). The role of agencification in achieving value-for-money in public spending. Governance. Available online:

Agencification has been pursued globally under the promise of increasing public administration performance. In spite of ample theoretical arguments, the empirical evidence on the causal link between agencification and performance remains scarce and methodologically contested. We contribute to this debate by empirically testing the impacts of agencification across Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom on value-for-money, competitiveness, and timeliness

Read More

Anti-corruption in aid-funded procurement: Is corruption reduced or merely displaced?

David-Barrett E. and Fazekas, M. (2020). Anti-corruption in aid-funded procurement: Is corruption reduced or merely displaced? World Development. Available online:

Given a widespread sense among donors that mainstream anti-corruption reforms over the past 25 years have failed to yield results, there is a move towards more targeted interventions. Such interventions should, in principle, overcome implementation gaps and make it easier to evaluate impact, supporting learning. However, when interventions are narrowly targeted, there is a risk that corrupt actors simply …

Read More

Corruption risk in contracting markets: A network science perspective

Wachs,J., Fazekas, M., Kertész, J. (2020). Corruption risk in contracting markets: A network science perspective. International Journal of Data Science and Analytics. Available online.

We use methods from network science to analyze corruption risk in a large administrative dataset of over 4 million public procurement contracts from European Union member states covering the years 2008–2016. By mapping procurement markets as bipartite networks of issuers and winners of contracts, we can visualize and describe the distribution of corruption risk. We study …

Read More

Lights on the shadows of public procurement: Transparency as an antidote to corruption

Bauhr, M., Czibik, Á., Fazekas, M., and de Fine Licht, J. (2019). Lights on the Shadows of Public Procurement. Transparency as an antidote to corruption. Governance, 33(3).

The increased focus on marketizing mechanisms and contracting‐out operations following the New Public Management reform agenda has sparked a debate on whether the close interactions between public and private actors might drive corruption in the public sector. The main response to those worries has been increased transparency, but so far empirical evidence of …

Read More

The extent and cost of corruption in transport infrastructure: New evidence from Europe

Fazekas, M. & Tóth, B. (2018). The Extent and Cost of Corruption in Transport Infrastructure: New evidence from Europe. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice. Vol. 113, July 2018, pp. 35–54.

Transport infrastructure provision from roads to waterways involves large amounts of public funds in very
complex projects. It is hardly a surprise that all across Europe, but especially in high corruption risk countries,
it is a primary target of corrupt elites. This article provides a state-of-the-art review of …

Read More

Grand corruption and government change: an analysis of partisan favoritism in public procurement

Dávid-Barrett, E. & Fazekas, M. (2019). Grand corruption and government change: an analysis of partisan favoritism in public procurement. European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research.

Incoming governments sometimes abuse their power to manipulate the allocation of government contracts so as to buy loyalty from cronies. While scandals suggest such practices are relatively widespread, the extent of such partisan favoritism is difficult to measure and the conditions under which it flourishes under-theorized. Drawing on theory regarding the role

Read More

Social capital predicts corruption risk in towns

Wachs, J., Yasseri, T., Lengyel, B., Kertész, J. (2019). Social capital predicts corruption risk in towns. Royal Society Open Science 6: 182103.

Corruption is a social plague: gains accrue to small groups, while its costs are borne by everyone. Significant variation in its level between and within countries suggests a relationship between social structure and the prevalence of corruption, yet, large-scale empirical studies thereof have been missing due to lack of data. In this paper, we relate the structural …

Read More

Political Competition and Public Procurement Outcomes

Broms, R., Dahlström, C., & Fazekas, M. (2019). Political Competition and Public Procurement Outcomes. Comparative Political Studies.

This article asks if low political competition is associated with more restricted public procurement processes. Using unique Swedish municipal data from 2009 to 2015, it demonstrates that when one party dominates local politics, noncompetitive outcomes from public procurement processes are more common. What is most striking is that the risk of receiving only one bid, on what is intended to be an …

Read More

Big data in public procurement – Colloquium

Mihaly Fazekas & Stéphane Saussier: Chapter 3. Big data in public procurement. Colloquium. In: Law and Economics of Public Procurement Reforms (ed: Gustavo Piga and Tunde Tatrai), Ruthledge. 2018.

Summary of the article

This chapter exposes the enormous opportunities presented by the emergence of Big Data in public procurement and the lack of investment and effort for exploiting these opportunities. Big Data in public procurement holds the promise of fundamentally transforming how procurement performance is understood and it can …

Read More