How to define and measure corruption

Mungiu-Pippidi A. and Fazekas M. (2020). How to define and measure Corruption. In Alina Mungiu-Pippidi & Paul M. Heywood (eds.) A Research Agenda for Studies of Corruption. Ch. 2. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham.

The measurement of corruption is an essential part of this policy-driven intellectual endeavour. As a United Nations Development Programme review report stated: ‘To put it plainly, there is little value in a measurement if it does not tell us what needs to be fixed’ (UNDP 2008, p. 8). While scholars are entitled to study corruption and anti-corruption from a variety of angles and to hope they will discover …

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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: high-level corruption in government contracting. We describe a recently developed method to score procurement contracts for corruption risk. Then, using …

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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: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/gove.12452

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 during the period 2006201 6. We use unique administrative datasets, enabling objective and granular measurements of reforms

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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: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2020.105000

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 adapt, shifting their focus to areas with weaker controls, so that overall corruption is not reduced but merely displaced. We …

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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 the structure of these networks in each member state, identify their cores, and find that highly centralized markets tend to …

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