Agency Design, Favoritism and Procurement in the United States

Dahlström, C., Fazekas, M., & Lewis, D. E. (2019). Agency Design, Favoritism and Procurement in the United States. QoG Working Paper Series 2019:4, ISSN 1653-8919.

The U.S. federal government spends huge sums buying goods and services from outside of the public sector. Given the sums involved, strategic government purchasing can have electoral consequences. In this paper, we suggest that more politicized agencies show favoritism to entrepreneurs in key electoral constituencies and to firms connected to political parties. We evaluate these claims using new data on United States government contracts between 2003 and 2015. We find that executive departments, particularly more

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Auction Length and Prices : Evidence from Random Auction Closing in Brazil

Oliveira, A., Fabregas Masllovet, A. & Fazekas, M. (2019). Auction Length and Prices : Evidence from Random Auction Closing in Brazil (English). Policy Research working paper; no. WPS 8828. Washington, D.C.: World Bank Group. 

Electronic reverse auctions are the most used competitive method for procurement of goods and non-consulting services by the Federal Government of Brazil. These auctions are closed randomly, which perfectly satisfies fairness considerations but may be suboptimal from an efficiency perspective. There are concerns that tenders are closed too early and randomness favors bidders with algorithmic bidding software, leading to high prices. Hence, this paper investigates what …

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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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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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