The role of discretion in public procurement has been the subject of wide debate in regulation literature and practice. Greater discretion potentially may allow for greater efficiency in procurement. However, when social capital and institutional quality are low, more discretion can easily open the door to bribery and corruption. In this paper, adopting a semiparametric approach and using a large dataset of public works managed by Italian municipalities, we empirically assess the effects of a reform in the regulation of public works in Italy, approved in 2011, that has increased the discretion of bureaucrats in the choice of the firms. The results provide evidence that the reform has exerted a positive, although mild, effect on the performance of public works execution. However, the positive role of the reform is more relevant in those areas where the effect of public service norms and prosocial behaviors are higher.

If You Give Bureaucrats an Inch, Will They Take a Yard? Lessons from Threshold Regulatory Reform in Italy

Finocchiaro Castro, M
Conceptualization
;
Guccio, C
Methodology
;
Romeo, D
Writing – Review & Editing
2022-01-01

Abstract

The role of discretion in public procurement has been the subject of wide debate in regulation literature and practice. Greater discretion potentially may allow for greater efficiency in procurement. However, when social capital and institutional quality are low, more discretion can easily open the door to bribery and corruption. In this paper, adopting a semiparametric approach and using a large dataset of public works managed by Italian municipalities, we empirically assess the effects of a reform in the regulation of public works in Italy, approved in 2011, that has increased the discretion of bureaucrats in the choice of the firms. The results provide evidence that the reform has exerted a positive, although mild, effect on the performance of public works execution. However, the positive role of the reform is more relevant in those areas where the effect of public service norms and prosocial behaviors are higher.
bureaucratic discretion
public service norms
corruption
public works contracts
efficiency
nonparametric methods
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12318/132086
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