Publications

  • Lights on the Shadows of Public Procurement. Transparency in government contracting as an antidote to corruption?

    Transparency is widely promoted as an essential condition for good governance, and as an effective tool against public sector corruption more specifically. Although the empirical evidence on the impact of transparency on corruption is growing, empirical evidence remains mixed. Recent critique holds that a main reason for the lack of robust empirical evidence is that […]

  • Uncovering High-Level Corruption: Cross-National Objective Corruption Risk Indicators Using Public Procurement Data

    Measuring high-level corruption is subject to extensive scholarly and policy interest, which has achieved moderate progress in the last decade. 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 official government data on 2.8 million contracts in […]

  • Red tape, bribery and government favouritism: evidence from Europe

    Abstract 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 […]

  • Quantitative Data Collection and Cleaning: Cleaned and Structured Databases

    The collection of public procurement related raw data is about understanding source systems, what data they offer and how the data can be obtained from a source (more details in our publication on raw data); to create a structured database we need to understand the data itself and store it according to a data template that […]

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

    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 […]

  • DIGIWHIST Recommendations for the Implementation of Open Public Procurement Data. An Implementer‘s Guide.

    Based on our current DIGIWHIST research, Mara Mendes (Open Knowledge Foundation Germany) and Mihály Fazekas (University of Cambridge) have created a catalogue of nine recommendations for governments on how to best publish procurement data. Providing comprehensive public procurement information free of charge in an easy-to-use format to all interested parties is expected to increase market […]

  • Measuring Corrupt Rent Extraction by Tracking the Misuse of Corporate Vehicles

    In recent years, the abuse of diverse corporate networks for extracting corrupt rents and channelling them to opaque destinations have come to the forefront of international anticorruption efforts. This was marked by the UK anti-corruption summit’s focus on beneficial ownership which built on initiatives against opaque companies by OECD or FATF to name a few. […]

  • Corrupt Contracting: Partisan Favouritism in Public Procurement. Hungary and the United Kingdom compared

    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 […]

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

    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 […]

  • An Objective Corruption Risk Index Using Public Procurement Data

    In order to address the lack of reliable indicators of corruption, this article develops a composite indicator of high-level institutionalised corruption through a novel ‘Big Data’ approach. Using publicly available electronic public procurement records in Hungary, we identify “red flags” in the public procurement process and link them to restricted competition and recurrent contract award […]