Public Procurement In The European Union: Transparent And Fair?

An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Directives 2014/23, 2014/24 and 2014/25 on Indicators of Transparency and Corruption

Ever since the signing of the Treaty of Rome in 1957, the European Union has aimed to increase transparency and decrease corruption in procurement by several directives and policies. In this study, we will assess whether the Directives 2014/23, 2014/24 and 2014/25 have led to more transparency and less corruption in public procurement. We measure transparency through the presence of key information fields in tender notices, while corruption is measured through the risk indicator of single bidding. We first regress eight indicators of transparency on single bidding in eight different binary logistic models. Here we find that a ratio indicator of transparency, in which the share of key missing information fields on the tender notice level is calculated, shows the highest effect on single bidding. Using this ratio transparency indicator, we observe no clear increase in transparency after the transposition of the directives. Likewise, our models do not provide support for a decrease in single bidding after the transposition of the directives. We find that the leeway the generic nature of the 2014 Directives provides may decrease the level of previously well-established procurement laws and norms in specific countries. We recommend increasing the monitoring and enforcement power of the Union to ensure proper compliance. We also propose to implement a Unionwide tender data repository and platform to foster research and open competition in tenders.

The Quality of Government and Public Administration

In 1999, Evans and Rauch showed a strong association between government effectiveness (quality of government)—particularly the presence of a Weberian-like bureaucracy, selected and promoted on merit alone and largely autonomous from private interests—and economic growth. In 1997 and the aftermath of the Washington Consensus controversial reforms the World Bank promoted this finding in its influential World Development Report 1997 as part of its broader paradigm on “institutional quality.” Twenty years of investment in state capacity followed, by means of foreign assistance supporting the quality of public administration as a prerequisite to development. However, most reviews found the results well under expectations. This is hardly surprising, seeing that Max Weber, credited as the first promoter of the importance of bureaucracy as both the end result and the tool of government rationalization in modern times, never took for granted the autonomy of the state apparatus from private interest. He clearly stated that the power using the apparatus is the one steering the bureaucracy itself. In fact, a review of empirical evidence shows that the quality of public administration is endogenous to the quality of government more broadly and therefore can hardly be a solution in problematic contexts. The autonomy of the state from private interest is one of the most difficult objectives to accomplish in the evolution of a state, and few states have managed in contemporary times to match the achievements of Denmark or Switzerland in the 19th century. Two countries, Estonia and Georgia, are exceptional in this regard, but their success argues for the primacy of politics rather than of administration.

Beyond the Hype: Distributed Ledger Technology in the Field of Public Administration

Following the increasing attention the topic received over the last years, this paper is looking at the use of distributed ledger technology (DLT) in public administration and, in particular at its most prominent example: Blockchain technology. While offering a gentle introduction to the topic, the paper establishes an overview of the attributes and potential use cases of DLT in the context of public administration and bureaucracies. As a technology establishing a decentralised, high-trust data management system, DLT has potential to be used for the storage of administrative data and for increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of administrative data management. While potential uses are wide-ranging, this paper offers a simple typology of these. Furthermore, it offers a critical view of the challenges and drawbacks that the technology currently poses to public officials looking at using DLT in their processes. Ultimately, this paper takes the view that DLT can be a potentially valuable tool for public administrations to make use of, but the drawbacks and difficulties associated with this technology are often not discussed or acknowledged as often or as thoroughly as needed, giving a false picture of how easy it would be for governments to use this technology successfully.