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 of institutions as constraints on corruption, we identify three spheres of political influence over government contracting and show how elites

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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 characteristics of social capital of settlements with corruption in their local governments. Using datasets from Hungary, we quantify corruption risk …

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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 open and competitive tender, considerably increases with long-standing one-party rule. The article contributes to a significant body of work on …

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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 provide a vastly superior guide to effective policy decisions and implementation compared to our current knowledge. However, Big Data implies …

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Uncovering High-Level Corruption: Cross-National Corruption Proxies Using Government Contracting Data

Fazekas, M and Kocsis, G (2015). Uncovering High-Level Corruption: Cross-National Corruption Proxies Using Government Contracting Data. British Journal of Poltical Science. Published online: 24 August 2017. DOI:

Measuring high-level corruption and government favouritism has been the object of extensive scholarly and policy interest with relatively little progress in the last decade. In order to address the lack of reliable indicators, this article develops two objective proxy measures of high-level corruption in public procurement: single bidding in competitive markets and a composite score of tendering ‘red flags’. Using publicly available official electronic records of over 2.8 million government contracts in …

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