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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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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. Grembi, Veronica & Nannicini, Tommaso & Troiano, Ugo, 2012. "Policy Responses to Fiscal Restraints: A Difference-in-Discontinuities Design," IZA Discussion Papers 6952, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Patrick Bajari & Robert McMillan & Steven Tadelis, . "Auctions versus Negotiations in Procurement: An Empirical Analysis," Working Papers 02007, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Simon Johnson & John McMillan & Christopher Woodruff, 2001. "Courts and Relational Contracts," NBER Working Papers 8572, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Decio Coviello & Mario Mariniello, 2008. "Does Publicity Affect Competition? Evidence from Discontinuities in Public Procurement Auctions," CSEF Working Papers 189, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  7. Miriam A. Golden & Lucio Picci, 2005. "Proposal For A New Measure Of Corruption, Illustrated With Italian Data," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17, pages 37-75, 03.
  8. Patrick Bajari & Gregory Lewis, 2009. "Procurement Contracting with Time Incentives: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 14855, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Coviello, Decio & Gagliarducci, Stefano, 2010. "Building Political Collusion: Evidence from Procurement Auctions," IZA Discussion Papers 4939, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Rosenberg, D. & Shavell, S., 1985. "A model in which suits are brought for their nuisance value," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 3-13, June.
  11. Laeven, Luc & Woodruff, Christopher, 2004. "The quality of the legal system, firm ownership, andfirm size," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3246, The World Bank.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Katherine Doornik, 2010. "Incentive Contracts with Enforcement Costs," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(1), pages 115-143, April.
  15. 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.
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