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Building Political Collusion: Evidence from Procurement Auctions

  • Coviello, Decio


    (University of Rome Tor Vergata)

  • Gagliarducci, Stefano


    (University of Rome Tor Vergata)

We investigate the relationship between the time politicians stay in office and the functioning of public procurement. To this purpose, we collect a data set on the Italian municipal governments and all the procurement auctions they administered between 2000 and 2005. Identification is achieved through the introduction of a two-term limit for the mayor in March 1993: since elections were not coordinated across cities, and previous terms were not counted in the limit, mayors appointed right before the reform could be reelected for two additional terms, while the others for one only. Our primary finding is that one extra term in office deteriorates public spending. In fact, it decreases the number of bidders and, most importantly, the winning rebate. Interestingly, we also find that the probability that the same firm is awarded more auctions, or that the winning firm is local, increases with time in office. These results are compatible with the predictions of a model of favoritism in repeated procurement auctions, where time reveals collusive types, thus increasing the value of illegal connections at the expense of higher procurement costs.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4939.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: May 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4939
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  1. Skrzypacz, Andrzej & Hopenhayn, Hugo, 2004. "Tacit collusion in repeated auctions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 114(1), pages 153-169, January.
  2. Thomas Ferguson & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2008. "Betting on Hitler-The Value of Political Connections in Nazi Germany," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(1), pages 101-137, 02.
  3. Lee, David S., 2008. "Randomized experiments from non-random selection in U.S. House elections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 675-697, February.
  4. O. Compte & A. Lambert-Mogiliansky & T. Verdier, 2005. "Corruption and Competition in Procurement Auctions," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(1), pages 1-15, Spring.
  5. Raymond Fisman, 2001. "Estimating the Value of Political Connections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 1095-1102, September.
  6. Andrea Prat & Oriana Bandiera & Tommaso Valletti, 2007. "Active and Passive Waste in Government Spending: Evidence from a Policy Experiment," Levine's Bibliography 843644000000000100, UCLA Department of Economics.
  7. Claudio Ferraz & Frederico Finan, 2009. "Electoral Accountability and Corruption: Evidence from the Audits of Local Governments," NBER Working Papers 14937, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Federico Weinschelbaum & Leandro Arozamena, 2005. "The Effect of Corruption on Bidding Behavior in First-Price Auctions," Working Papers 82, Universidad de San Andres, Departamento de Economia, revised Aug 2005.
  9. Francesco Decarolis, 2009. "When the highest bidder loses the auction: theory and evidence from public procurement," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 717, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  10. Campante, Filipe Robin & Chor, Davin & Do, Quoc-Anh, 2009. "Instability and the Incentives for Corruption," Scholarly Articles 4778510, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  11. McCrary, Justin, 2008. "Manipulation of the running variable in the regression discontinuity design: A density test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 698-714, February.
  12. Parikshit Ghosh & Debraj Ray, 1995. "Cooperation in Community Interaction Without Information Flows," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 64, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  13. Eitan Goldman & Jörg Rocholl & Jongil So, 2009. "Do Politically Connected Boards Affect Firm Value?," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(6), pages 2331-2360, June.
  14. Davin Chor & Do Quoc-Anh & Filipe R Campante, 2008. "Instability and Incentives for Corruption," Macroeconomics Working Papers 22070, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  15. Roberto Burguet & Martin K. Perry, 2008. "Preferred Suppliers in Auction Markets," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 752.08, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  16. Mara Faccio, 2006. "Politically Connected Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 369-386, March.
  17. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521632935 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521659123 is not listed on IDEAS
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