Proxy indicators for the corrupt misuse of corporations

Mihály Fazekas, Bence Tóth (2016): Proxy indicators for the corrupt misuse of corporations. U4 Brief 2017:6. 

Mihály Fazekas and Bence Tóth’s corruption proxy challenge paper has been published on U4 Anticorruption Resoure Center’ website here:


We need more imaginative ways of addressing corruption. It is important to generate indicators that development agencies can use. U4 and DFID developed a proxy challenge competition to inspire the research community to develop reliable, intuitive, accessible and cost-effective assessment methods that are useful across country-contexts.

The abuse of companies for corrupt purposes has reached the forefront of international anti-corruption efforts. However, we …

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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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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:

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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Assessing Tanzania’s National Procurement Data Infrastructure

Czibik Á, Dávid-Barrett E, Fazekas M, Parsons D, Stern D, Stern R and Szendrői B (2017): Tanzania’s Procurement Data Infrastructure: Observations and Recommendations. GTI-R/2017:01, Budapest, Government Transparency Institute, May 2017

The publication of data about government procurement is widely perceived to be beneficial in terms of improving transparency over a significant area of public spending. Transparency in public procurement is associated with greater scrutiny over processes and outcomes, helping to improve accountability in order to achieve enhanced competition, better value for money and reduced corruption. As a member of the Open Government Partnership since 2011, the Tanzanian government has consistently …

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Red tape, bribery and government favouritism: evidence from Europe

Mihály Fazekas: Red tape, bribery and government favouritism: evidence from Europe. Crime, Law and Social Change (2017). URL:

Red tape has long been identified as a major cause of corruption, hence deregulation was advocated as an effective anticorruption tool, an advice which many country followed. However, we lack robust systematic evidence on whether deregulation actually lowers corruption. This is partially due to the difficulty of defining what is good regulation, but also to the lack of theoretical clarity about which type of corruption regulations impact on and to the deficient measurement of different types of corruption. In order to …

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Assessing the potential for detecting collusion in Swedish public procurement

Mihály Fazekas, Bence Tóth (2016): Assessing the potential for detecting collusion in Swedish public procurement. Swedish Competition Authority Commissioned Research Reports 2016:3, Oktober 2016. 


This research report provides a detailed discussion of three fundamental topics relevant for building a public procurement system in Sweden which supports both government accountability, and monitoring the risks of collusion. First, it offers a comparison of the current Swedish data system to a set of European best practices in terms of public procurement data scope, depth, and quality using data collected by the EU-funded DIGIWHIST research project. Second, it provides an assessment of …

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DIGIWHIST policy recommendations: Towards More Transparent and Efficient Contracting in the European Union

Mara Mendes, Mihály Fazekas (2017): Towards More Transparent and Efficient Contracting – Public Procurement in the European Union. DIGIWHIST publications. March 2017. 


Approximately 15% of the EU’s Gross Domestic Product is spent every year on procuring goods and services, and some estimates indicate that corruption increases the cost of government contracts by 20 – 25%. It is even more worrying that corruption in public procurement compromises widely supported public goals, such as building safe highways, high quality school buildings, or delivering medicine in time. These are a few of the main reasons why more research needs to be …

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Data publication: public procurement in Tanzania, 2009-2016

This publication contains Tanzanian public procurement data retrieved from the issues of Tanzania Procurement Journal between 2009 and 2016. The dataset was compiled as a part of the research project ‘Quantitative corruption analysis: implementation and case study’ with the ultimate aim of exploring ways to increase transparency and integrity through Big Data solutions.

The research project was carried out by researchers from the Mathematical Institute (University of Oxford), Statistical Services Centre (University of Reading), Department of Sociology (University of Cambridge), Department of Politics (University of Sussex), and the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences (Tanzania). GTI contributed to data collection, data …

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