Abdou, A., Czibik, Á., Tóth, B. and Fazekas, M. (2021): COVID-19 emergency public procurement in Romania: Corruption risks and market behavior. GTI-WP/2021:03, Budapest: Government Transparency Institute.
The aim of this research is to track corruption risks affecting the Romanian public procurement system during the COVID-19 emergency. We develop a composite Corruption Risk Index (CRI) to track public procurement contracting risks in Romania in the period from 2015 to 2021. We find that the emergency context exposed the procurement process to more corruption risk which may have been directly related to the relaxed regulatory framework adopted by the Romanian authorities to address supply shortages. Furthermore, we document that the CRI scores for COVID-19-related products increased especially during the emergency period. However, other health-care products and products entirely unrelated to the pandemic also increased their risks to a comparable level which raises concerns of corruption risk spillovers on the market. We also extend our CRI methodology to investigate the contracts and public buyers participating in the Integrity Pact program. While the sample is small, results show that Integrity Pacts may help to decrease specific corruption risks such as single bidding.