Why is collecting and analysing data about public procurement so damned difficult? Data scientists explain some common problems

David-Barrett, E. (2019). Why is collecting and analysing data about public procurement so damned difficult? Data scientists explain some common problems. Originally published on the ACE-Global Integrity blog: https://ace.globalintegrity.org/dataexplainer/

Open data is often lauded as a magic pill for anti-corruption: reveal what’s going on, inform the public, and, presto, government will become more accountable. Oh, and big data just means bigger gains, right?

Not quite. We have written elsewhere about the institutional and political challenges that can hinder the transparency –> accountability transformation. But even the very first stage — collecting the data — is much harder than it seems. …

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Big data analytics as a tool for auditors to identify and prevent fraud and corruption in public procurement

Adam, I. & Fazekas, M. (2019). Big data analytics as a tool for auditors to identify and prevent fraud and corruption in public procurement. European Court of Auditors Journal 2/2019: pp. 172-179.

ECA Journal Short Read:

Government contracts and big data analytics – big data in public procurement can help auditors on two levels: (1) it can facilitate decisions about monitoring, audit and investigations; (2) it can inform country or sector-wide policy decisions on resource allocation and regulations.

Measuring corruption requires a proxy – a ‘corruption risk index’ (CRI) has been developed, combining four observable risk indicators: (1) tendering risk; …

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Are emerging technologies helping win the fight against corruption in developing countries?

Adam, I., and Fazekas, M. (2019). Are emerging technologies helping win the fight against corruption in developing countries? Pathways for Prosperity Commission Background Paper Series; no. 21. Oxford, United Kingdom

This paper systematically takes stock of the latest academic and policy literature that sheds light on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools and their impact on corruption. The tools reviewed include digital public services, crowdsourcing platforms, whistleblowing tools, transparency portals, big data, distributed ledger technology (DLT), and artificial intelligence (AI). We scrutinise the evidence on various technologies’ effectiveness, drawbacks, and even potential misuse that enables corruption. Drawing on the commonalities …

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Anti-corruption interventions in development aid: Is corruption reduced or merely displaced?

Dávid-Barrett, E., Fazekas, M. (2018): Anti-corruption interventions in development aid: Is corruption reduced or merely displaced? GTI-WP/2018:02, Budapest: Government Transparency Institute

Most anti-corruption interventions are small-scale and targeted. Hence, there is a risk that they simply displace corruption rather than reducing it as corrupt actors adapt to the new conditions. Direct attempts at improving corruption controls in one area might elicit two evasive tactics: corrupt actors could shift focus to areas with weaker controls or could more aggressively exploit the loopholes that remain. Observing such displacement effects requires an overview of a whole system and detailed data points within it, …

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Assessing the quality of government at the regional level using public procurement data

Fazekas, M. (2017):  Assessing the quality of government at the regional level using public procurement data. European Commission Working Papers WP 12/2017. Available online: http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/en/information/publications/working-papers/2017/assessing-the-quality-of-government-at-the-regional-level-using-public-procurement-data

Public procurement, that is the purchase of goods and services by public entities, plays a crucial role in the development and quality of government across the European Union (EU). On average, it amounts to about 13 % of GDP or 29 % of government spending (European Commission, 2016; OECD, 2015). It is a genuinely cross-cutting government function concerning virtually every public body from federal ministries to local state-owned utilities, making it broadly representative of the …

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