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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Institutional quality, campaign contributions, and favouritism in US federal government contracting

Fazekas, M., Ferrali, R., Wachs, J. (2018): Institutional quality, campaign contributions, and favouritism in US federal government contracting. GTI-WP/2018:01, Budapest: Government Transparency Institute.

The corrupting power of money in US politics has long been debated with emerging evidence pointing out that campaign contributions help funnel money to politically connected companies. However, it is yet unclear how exactly such mechanisms might work and what are the curbs on politically driven contracting. To address these gaps we compile the full dataset of published federal contracts and registered campaign contributions for 2004-2015, linked to each other on the company level. We develop corruption …

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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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The effectiveness of the European Union in safeguarding competition in public procurement markets

Fazekas, M., Tóth, B. (2017):  The effectiveness of the European Union in safeguarding competition in public procurement markets. GTI-WP/2017:04, Budapest: Government Transparency Institute.

The EU’s single market in government purchases constitutes a fundamental pillar of economic integration throughout the continent, as it amounts to 4% of GDP. If competition is deficient efficiency losses ensue. As we know surprisingly little about the effectiveness of monitoring and enforcement institutions designed to safeguard competition, we investigate whether the European Commission and the Court of Justice of the European Union are effective in changing market behaviour. Using a unique micro-level public procurement database of …

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Controlling Corruption in Development Aid: New Evidence from Contract-Level Data

Dávid-Barrett, E., Fazekas, M., Hellmann, O., Márk, L., McCorley, C. (2017):  Controlling Corruption in Development Aid:  New Evidence from Contract-Level Data. GTI-WP/2017:03, Budapest: Government Transparency Institute.

Following scandals about corruption in foreign aid, and in a political climate that increasingly questions the legitimacy of development assistance, donors are under pressure to control how their funds are spent. At the same time, they also face pressure to trust recipient governments to disburse project funds themselves, so as to build capacity in developing countries. This paper assesses under which conditions donor regulations are successful in controlling corruption in aid spent by national …

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Corruption, government turnover, and public contracting market structure – Insights using network analysis and objective corruption proxies

Fazekas, M., Skuhrovec, J., Wachs, J. (2017): Corruption, government turnover, and public contracting market structure – Insights using network analysis and objective corruption proxies. GTI-WP/2017:02, Budapest: Government Transparency Institute.

Many policymakers and researchers study and debate how to control and limit corruption. Few have examined the mechanisms by which corruption distorts markets and how they may be influenced to mitigate negative effects. To develop this new perspective, we study how corruption effects the structure of public contracting markets modelled as networks of connected buyers and suppliers. We examine the impact of political power-sharing on these networks via government turnover timing …

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Compliance and strategic contract manipulation around single market regulatory thresholds – the case of Poland

Tóth, B., Fazekas, M. (2017): Compliance and strategic contract manipulation around single market regulatory thresholds – the case of Poland. GTI-WP/2017:01, Budapest: Government Transparency Institute.

The functioning of the EU’s single market in government contracts crucially hinges upon compliance with and adequate use of EU-wide rules. However, evidence from a range of countries suggest that these rules are circumvented and manipulated tenders are used to pursue protectionist or favouritistic agendas. In order to test whether such claims also apply to Polish public procurement we investigate the extent of non-compliance and manipulation around the regulatory thresholds defining whether national or EU-rules …

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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: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007123417000461

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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A comprehensive review of objective corruption proxies in public procurement: risky actors, transactions, and vehicles of rent extraction

Fazekas, M., Cingolani, L. and Tóth, B. (2016). A comprehensive review of objective corruption proxies in public procurement: risky actors, transactions, and vehicles of rent extraction. GTI-WP/2016:03, Budapest: Government Transparency Institute.

This paper can provide a comprehensive review of quantitative corruption proxies, conceptualise how different indicators capture different aspects of corruption, and identify gaps in the measurement landscape. Institutionalised, well-established corruption in government contracting aims to bypass fair and open competition in order to allocate contracts to companies belonging to the corrupt group. This requires at least i) corrupt transactions allowing for rent generation, ii) particularistic relations underpinning collective action …

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Corrupt Contracting: Partisan Favouritism in Public Procurement

David-Barrett, L and Fazekas, M (2016). Corrupt Contracting: Partisan Favouritism in Public Procurement. GTI-WP/2016:02, Budapest: Government Transparency Institute.

For politicians seeking to use a clientelist approach to achieve political and private gain, i.e., to prolong their hold on power and maximize personal profit, control of government contracting is a key tool. We theorise that politicians wishing to exploit government contracting for such ends will seek to increase their influence over three stages of public procurement – policy formation, implementation and monitoring – but that their efforts can be constrained by institutional controls and checks. We examine these influence strategies and …

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