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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. 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.
  2. Ferguson, Thomas & Voth, Hans-Joachim, 2005. "Betting on Hitler - The Value of Political Connections in Nazi Germany," CEPR Discussion Papers 5021, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. 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.
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  8. 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.
  9. Oriana Bandiera & Andrea Prat & Tommaso Valletti, 2008. "Active and Passive Waste in Government Spending: Evidence from a Policy Experiment," CEIS Research Paper 115, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 14 Jul 2008.
  10. 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.
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  12. Davin Chor & Do Quoc-Anh & Filipe R Campante, 2008. "Instability and Incentives for Corruption," Macroeconomics Working Papers 22070, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
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  14. Skrzypacz, Andrzej & Hopenhayn, Hugo, 2004. "Tacit collusion in repeated auctions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 114(1), pages 153-169, January.
  15. Claudio Ferraz & Frederico Finan, 2011. "Electoral Accountability and Corruption: Evidence from the Audits of Local Governments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(4), pages 1274-1311, June.
  16. Mara Faccio, 2006. "Politically Connected Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 369-386, March.
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