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Bureaucratic competence and procurement outcomes

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  • Decarolis, Francesco
  • Giuffrida, Leonardo
  • Iossa, Elisabetta
  • Mollisi, Vincenzo
  • Spagnolo, Giancarlo

Abstract

To what extent does a more competent public bureaucracy contribute to better economic outcomes? We address this question in the context of the US federal procurement of services and works, by combining contract-level data on procurement performance and bureau-level data on competence and workforce characteristics. We use the death occurrences of specific types of employees as instruments and find that an increase in bureau competence causes a significant and economically important reduction in: i) time delays, ii) cost overruns, and iii) number of renegotiations. Cooperation within the office appears to be a key driver of the findings.

Suggested Citation

  • Decarolis, Francesco & Giuffrida, Leonardo & Iossa, Elisabetta & Mollisi, Vincenzo & Spagnolo, Giancarlo, 2019. "Bureaucratic competence and procurement outcomes," ZEW Discussion Papers 19-057, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:19057
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Pablo T. Spiller, 2009. "An Institutional Theory of Public Contracts: Regulatory Implications," Chapters, in: Claude Ménard & Michel Ghertman (ed.), Regulation, Deregulation, Reregulation, chapter 3, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Papke, Leslie E. & Wooldridge, Jeffrey M., 2008. "Panel data methods for fractional response variables with an application to test pass rates," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 145(1-2), pages 121-133, July.
    3. Benjamin F. Jones & Benjamin A. Olken, 2005. "Do Leaders Matter? National Leadership and Growth Since World War II," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 835-864.
    4. Pamela Giustinelli & Charles F. Manski, 2018. "Survey Measures Of Family Decision Processes For Econometric Analysis Of Schooling Decisions," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 56(1), pages 81-99, January.
    5. Oriana Bandiera & Andrea Prat & Tommaso Valletti, 2009. "Active and Passive Waste in Government Spending: Evidence from a Policy Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1278-1308, September.
    6. Marion, Justin, 2007. "Are bid preferences benign? The effect of small business subsidies in highway procurement auctions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(7-8), pages 1591-1624, August.
    7. Leonardo M. Giuffrida & Gabriele Rovigatti, 2017. "Can the Private Sector Ensure the Public Interest? Evidence from Federal Procurement," CEIS Research Paper 411, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 20 Jul 2017.
    8. Joshua R. Bruce & John M. de Figueiredo & Brian S. Silverman, 2019. "Public contracting for private innovation: Government capabilities, decision rights, and performance outcomes," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(4), pages 533-555, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Adam Pigoñ & Gyula Seres, 2019. "On the competitive effects of screening in procurement," IBS Working Papers 08/2019, Instytut Badan Strukturalnych.
    2. Jääskeläinen, Jan & Tukiainen, Janne, 2019. "Anatomy of public procurement," Working Papers 118, VATT Institute for Economic Research.
    3. Leonardo M. Giuffrida & Gabriele Rovigatti, 2017. "Can the Private Sector Ensure the Public Interest? Evidence from Federal Procurement," CEIS Research Paper 411, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 20 Jul 2017.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    buyer quality; competence; procurement; public management; state capacity;

    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H57 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Procurement

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