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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Breaking the cycle? How (not) to use political finance regulations to counter public procurement corruption

Fazekas, M and Cingolani, L (2017). Breaking the cycle? How (not) to use political finance regulations to counter public procurement corruption. In: The Slavonic and East European Review, Vol. 95, No. 1, January 2017. URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5699/slaveasteurorev2.95.issue-1

There are widespread perceptions and countless documented cases of tight-knit networks of politicians and businessmen colluding for allocating public procurement contracts in return for political party donations. In the absence of systematic evidence, neither the magnitude of the problem nor the effectiveness of policies curbing such corruption is well-understood. In order to advance our understanding of these phenomena, this paper tests whether political financing …

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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. GTI-WP/2015:02, Budapest: Government Transparency Institute.

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 27 EU member states plus Norway in …

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Corruption in EU Funds? Europe-wide evidence on the corruption effect of EU funded public contracting

Fazekas, M. and Tóth, I. J. (2015). Corruption in EU Funds? Europe-wide evidence on the corruption effect of EU funded public contracting. GTI-WP/2015:01, Budapest: Government Transparency Institute.

It is theoretically ambiguous and empirically contested whether EU Funds contribute to lower corruption and better governance or the opposite. Many recipient countries benefit to a substantial degree with allocations amounting to 2-4% of their annual GDP. A range of positive and negative cases has been uncovered by the European Commission, national governments and the media, however, there has been no Europe-wide quantitative evaluation looking at the micro-level, arguably where corruption takes place. …

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Toolkit for detecting collusive bidding in public procurement – With examples from Hungary

Tóth, B, Fazekas, M, Czibik, Á, Tóth, I. J. (2014). Toolkit for detecting collusive bidding in public procurement – With examples from Hungary. GTI-WP/2014:02, Budapest: Government Transparency Institute.

Based on a synthesis of literature to-date, this paper provides a flexible indicator set deployable as a toolkit across many countries for detecting collusive bidding in public procurement. While no one-size-fits-all approach exists in detecting collusion, robust elementary indicators and analytical tools for adapting them to local contexts can be developed. The paper delivers a conceptual definition and theoretical discussion for each indicator as well as a complex empirical assessment using data …

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From corruption to state capture: A new analytical framework with empirical applications from Hungary

Fazekas, M., Tóth, I. J. (2014). From corruption to state capture: A new analytical framework with empirical applications from Hungary. GTI-WP/2014:01, Budapest: Government Transparency Institute.

State capture and corruption are widespread phenomena across the globe, but their empirical study is still highly challenging. This paper develops a new conceptual and analytical framework for gauging state capture based on micro-level contractual networks in public procurement. To this end, it first establishes a robust measure of corruption risks in public procurement transactions focusing on relationships between pairs of issuers and suppliers. Second, it searches for clusters of high corruption risk organisations in …

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Are EU funds a corruption risk? – The impact of EU funds on grand corruption in Central and Eastern Europe

Fazekas, M., Chvalkovska, J., Skuhrovec, J., Tóth, I. J., King,  L. P. (2013). Are EU funds a corruption risk? – The impact of EU funds on grand corruption in Central and Eastern Europe. GTI-WP/2013:03, Budapest: Government Transparency Institute.

The paper explores the impact of EU funds on institutionalised grand corruption in public procurement between 2009-2012 in three countries: Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia. We analyse a unique pooled database containing contract-level public procurement information for all three countries. We develop a composite corruption risks indicator based on the incidence and logical structure of ‘red flags’ in individual public procurement transactions. …

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Anatomy of grand corruption: A composite corruption risk index based on objective data

Fazekas, M., Tóth, I. J., King,  L. P. (2013). Anatomy of grand corruption: A composite corruption risk index based on objective data. GTI-WP/2013:02, Budapest: Government Transparency Institute.

Although both the academic and policy communities have attached great importance to measuring corruption, most of the currently available measures are biased and too broad to test theory or guide policy. This article proposes a new composite indicator of grand corruption based on a wide range of elementary indicators. These indicators are derived from a rich qualitative evidence on public procurement corruption and a statistical analysis of a public procurement data in Hungary. …

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Corruption manual for beginners – “Corruption techniques” in public procurement with examples from Hungary

Fazekas, M., Tóth, I. J., King,  L. P. (2013). Corruption manual for beginners – “Corruption techniques” in public procurement with examples from Hungary. GTI-WP/2013:01, Budapest: Government Transparency Institute.

This paper develops 30 novel quantitative indicators of grand corruption that operationalize 20 distinct techniques of corruption in the context of public procurement. Each indicator rests on a thorough qualitative understanding of rent extraction from public contracts by corrupt networks as evidenced by academic literature, interviews and media content analysis. Feasibility and usefulness of the proposed indicators are demonstrated using micro-level public procurement data from Hungary in 2009-2012. While the prime value …

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