Measuring Regional Quality of Government: The Public Spending Quality Index Based on Government Contracting Data

Czibik, Á. and Fazekas, M (2021): Measuring regional quality of government: the public spending quality index based on government contracting data. Regional Studies. 55(8), pp. 1459-1472, 10.1080/00343404.2021.1902975

Government contracting is crucial for defining the quality of government and public services because it amounts to about 29% of government spending. However, regional quality of government indicators, especially for public spending, are largely missing. We assess the quality of public spending by transparency, competition, efficiency and corruption using a novel database of 4 million contracts from the EU-28 between 2006 and 2015. We find that public spending quality is associated with gross domestic product (GDP)/capita, the European quality of government index (EQI) and public sector meritocracy. We confirm large within-country regional variations, but also find considerable change over time: the steady deterioration of performance in old European Union member states.

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