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Court Efficiency and Procurement Performance

  • Decio Coviello

    (University of Montreal)

  • Luigi Moretti

    ()

    (University of Padova)

  • Giancarlo Spagnolo

    (University of Roma "Tor Vergata")

  • Paola Valbonesi

    ()

    (University of Padova)

Disputes on the penalties enforceable for breach of contract are often solved in court. Using a large dataset on Italian public procurement contracts, we study the effects of the inefficiency of the local law courts on the delay with which contractors deliver public works. First we sketch a simple model to see how inefficient law courts - i.e. those characterized by longer average duration of trials - may induce public buyers to refrain from enforcing penalties for late delivery in order to avoid costly disputes in court. Then our empirical findings show that, where the local law courts are inefficient: i) public works are delivered with longer delays, and this applies particularly to higher-value contracts - i.e. complex projects; ii) contracts are more often awarded to larger firms; and iii) on average, a higher share of final payment in contracts is adopted. These results are not driven by omitted environmental variables, since we show that delays in the completion of contracted works are still a selected by the efficiency of the local law courts after including province-related fixed effects in the model and considering other possible explanations for our findings.

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File URL: http://economia.unipd.it/sites/decon.unipd.it/files/20130164.pdf
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Paper provided by Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno" in its series "Marco Fanno" Working Papers with number 0164.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pad:wpaper:0164
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  1. Veronica Grembi & Tommaso Nannicini & Ugo Troiano, 2012. "Policy Responses to Fiscal Restraints: A Difference-in-Discontinuities Design," CESifo Working Paper Series 3999, CESifo Group Munich.
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  4. Gregory Lewis & Patrick Bajari, 2011. "Procurement Contracting With Time Incentives: Theory and Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(3), pages 1173-1211.
  5. Simon Johnson & John McMillan & Christopher Woodruff, 2001. "Courts and Relational Contracts," NBER Working Papers 8572, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Katherine Doornik, 2010. "Incentive Contracts with Enforcement Costs," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(1), pages 115-143, April.
  7. Matthieu Chemin, 2012. "Does Court Speed Shape Economic Activity? Evidence from a Court Reform in India," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(3), pages 460-485, August.
  8. Luc Laeven & Christopher Woodruff, 2007. "The Quality of the Legal System, Firm Ownership, and Firm Size," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(4), pages 601-614, November.
  9. Francesco Decarolis, 2014. "Awarding Price, Contract Performance, and Bids Screening: Evidence from Procurement Auctions," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 108-32, January.
  10. Patrick Bajari & Robert McMillan & Steven Tadelis, . "Auctions versus Negotiations in Procurement: An Empirical Analysis," Working Papers 02007, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  11. Bajari, Patrick & Tadelis, Steven, 2001. "Incentives versus Transaction Costs: A Theory of Procurement Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(3), pages 387-407, Autumn.
  12. Decio Coviello & Mario Mariniello, 2008. "Does Publicity Affect Competition? Evidence from Discontinuities in Public Procurement Auctions?," Economics Working Papers ECO2008/04, European University Institute.
  13. Bucciol, Alessandro & Chillemi, Ottorino & Palazzi, Giacomo, 2013. "Cost overrun and auction format in small size public works," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 35-42.
  14. Chiara D’Alpaos & Michele Moretto & Paola Valbonesi & Sergio Vergalli, 2013. "Time overruns as opportunistic behavior in public procurement," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 110(1), pages 25-43, September.
  15. Coviello, Decio & Gagliarducci, Stefano, 2010. "Building Political Collusion: Evidence from Procurement Auctions," IZA Discussion Papers 4939, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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