• Rio procurement workshop, March 2015

    Brazil

    On March 13, we had a one day workshop at IPEA in Rio (also with the support of FGV). The program was packed with exciting new work on public procurement and great presenters (including Stephan Litschig, Dimitri Szerman, Decio Coviello, André Trindade, and Klenio Barbosa), as shown in the program.

    I also presented for the very first time my ongoing work with Klenio in revolving doors in procurement, which long abstract is below:

    This paper empirically investigates the link between public officials’ experience and career path and public procurement contracts. Using an unique data set covering 10 years of procurement contracts of medical supplies, hospital equipments and pharmaceuticals organized by Brazilian public bodies, together with a comprehensive data set tracing individual job experience and characteristics, we identify how career paths of individuals involved as purchase administrators or working for private providers determine procurement outcomes: probability of a firm obtains a contract, contract value, volume, acquisition price, and awarding procedure (invited bidders, restricted bidders, electronic auction, direct purchase).
    We are particularly looking at so called “revolving door” issues. We analyze career changes in two directions, and all their potential implications. Officials may work first for a public body and then join a private supplier. In this case, we may expect “backward” distortions if this appointment is the reward for past favors to the firm, or “forward” ones if it is an investment to benefit from the contacts and knowledge of the official. Alternatively, officials may work first for a private supplier before joining a public body. Again, we may expect “backward” effects if this public job rewards past deals such as collusion, or “forward” ones if the new appointees favor the firm for which they worked previously.
    Relying on such data set, we show that in several instances the movements of procurement officials significantly affect procurement outcomes: volumes delivered, price paid by the government, type of procurement contracts used, and some measures of mismanagement. Interestingly, we uncover both positive and negative effects of revolving door individuals on the efficiency of procurement, and analyze the likely channels for these effects.

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  • PPPs en América Latina

    uruguay

    He sido entrevistado por el semanario BUSQUEDA de Uruguay del 5 de febrero de 2015 sobre la situación de la infraestructura y el uso de los esquemas de participación público-privada (PPP) en América Latina.

    Aquí el artículo completo:

    Nota Stephane Búsqueda

     

     

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  • Forthcoming EUDN scientific meeting

    EUDN-logo

    Next week, the European Development network (EUDN) organizes its annual scientific workshop in Paris (sponsored by the AFD, the French Development Agency). The opportunity to bring together the community of researchers working on development related issues, and to showcase the high-quality work done in European universities and research institutions. Here is the program:

    Scientific EUDN Conference Paris 2014 – Programme

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  • Highlights from the LACEA-LAMES conference in São Paulo

    program_LACEALAMES2014

    From November 20 to 22, 2014, the LACEA (Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association) and LAMES (Latin American Meeting of the Econometric Society) conference took place at the School of Economics, Business and Accounting at the University of São Paulo (FEA-USP).

    I attended a few sessions, so here are my own subjective highlights on topics of my interest (I have added links to pdf versions found on the web whenever possible):

    A few new empirical papers in the area of public procurement:

    – Stephan Litschig (IAE, Barcelona) presented MONITORING PUBLIC PROCUREMENT: EVIDENCE FROM A REGRESSION DISCONTINUITY DESIGN IN CHILE, from an ongoing experimental project with Maria Paula Gerardino, IADB and Dina Pomeranz, Harvard University.

    – Yusuf Neggers (Harvard University): CAN ELECTRONIC PROCUREMENT IMPROVE INFRASTRUCTURE PROVISION? EVIDENCE FROM PUBLIC WORKS IN INDIA AND INDONESIA (with Sean Lewis-Faupel, Wisconsin-Madison, Benjamin A. Olken, MIT; and Rohini Pande, Harvard University)

    – Dimitri Szerman (PUC-Rio and Climate Policy Initiative) presented DEMAND SHOCKS AND FIRM DYNAMICS: EVIDENCE FROM WINNERS AND LOSERS IN PROCUREMENT AUCTIONS, which is joint work with Frederico Finan, University of California, Berkeley and Claudio Ferraz, PUC-Rio.

    – Klênio Barbosa (São Paulo School of Economics – FGV) presented PARTY EXPERTISE, CAMPAIGN DONATION AND GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS: EVIDENCE FROM AN ELECTORAL EXPERIMENT (written with Paulo Arvate, School of Business – FGV and Eric Fuzitani, BrUsed).

    Then I also attended a session on field experiments:

    – Leonardo Bursztyn (UCLA Anderson) presented HOW DOES PEER PRESSURE AFFECT EDUCATIONAL INVESTMENTS? (with Robert Jensen)

    – Dean Karlan (Yale) presented a paper on pricing of pharmaceuticals: TO CHARGE OR NOT TO CHARGE: EVIDENCE FROM A HEALTH PRODUCTS EXPERIMENT IN UGANDA, joint with Greg Fischer, Maggie McConnell and Pia Raffler.

    Finally, I went to the superb theory session organized by Humberto Moreira:

    – Alessando Pavan (Northwestern University) presented TAXATION UNDER LEARNING BY DOING: INCENTIVES FOR ENDOGENOUS TYPES (With Miltos Makris)

    – David Martimort (Paris School of Economics) presented WHEN OLSON MEETS DAHL: FROM INEFFICIENT GROUP FORMATION TO INEFFICIENT POLITICAL PROCESS (with Perrin Lefebvre)

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  • Liquidations à la grecque : un polar pour plonger dans la Grèce en crise

    1540-1

    Pour moi, le polar de l’été (bon OK je n’en ai lu qu’un, mais quand même). Ca s’avale d’une traite et nous laisse avec l’envie d’enchainer immédiatement sur la suite (« Le justicier d’Athènes », de Petros Markaris). C’est en Points poche à 7,30€, un prix de crise.

    Un petit extrait pour le plaisir (qu’on retrouve dans l’extrait pdf gratuit ici):

     

    « Adriani, décryptant mon aveu tacite, a poursuivi l’offensive.

    – Par moments tu es une énigme, mon chéri. Quand tu parles de ta fille, tu es tout sucre tout miel. Et maintenant elle ne mérite pas un petit sacrifice pour son mariage ? Tu ne peux vraiment pas la quitter, ta Fiat ?

    Elle n’avait pas tort, nous étions inséparables. La Mirafiori était la chair de ma chair, je ne pouvais pas la sacrifier. Mais Adriani n’a pas cédé.

    – Plutôt que prendre ta Fiat, je préfère mille fois y aller en pick- up !

    Katérina, qui cherchait toujours des compromis, a proposé la voiture de Phanis.

    – Et qui va la conduire ? demanda Adriani.

    – Phanis.

    – Ma chérie, c’est le père qui conduit la mariée à l’église, pas le marié.

    Pour finir, je me suis persuadé que la Mirafiori ayant quarante ans, mourir dans son grand âge n’était pas un drame. Cette décision apaisait, ou du moins estompait, les tourments de mon âme et en suscitait d’autres plus matériels. Je ne savais quelle marque choisir. Or, quand on ne sait pas, on demande. Et quand on demande, tout s’embrouille.

    – Monsieur le commissaire, ne cherche pas, me conseillait Dermitzakis. Prends une Hyundai. C’est le meilleur rapport qualité- prix. Sans compter que la moitié de la maison roule en Hyundai et que le concessionnaire nous fait des ristournes.

    – N’écoute pas ce que te disent les gars sur les Hyundai et les Nissan, me disait Guikas. Prends une européenne pour être tranquille. Une Volkswagen ou une Peugeot. Ça, c’est de la voiture.

    Finalement, c’est Phanis qui a résolu le problème.

    – Prends une Seat Ibiza.

    – Pourquoi ?

    – Pour être solidaire entre pauvres. En ce moment, les Espagnols et les Portugais en prennent plein la gueule, comme nous. On est les PIIGS[1], les porcs. Donc un porc doit aider l’autre, au lieu de courir après les requins. Jusqu’à présent on a essayé de vivre comme les requins et on s’est noyés, puisque les porcs ne savent pas nager. Par conséquent, tu dois prendre une Seat Ibiza. »

    Incidemment, il a obtenu le prix Le Point du polar européen 2013.

     


    [1] Acronyme formé par les initiales des pays d’Europe les plus fragiles économiquement : Portugal, Italie, Irlande, Grèce, Espagne (Spain).

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  • Inequality pre- and post taxes and transfers in Paraguay

    accion-social

    I just love the following figure, which basically shows that in Paraguay, in sharp contrast with other countries in Latin America, taxes and transfers fail to improve the situation of the poor and to lower inequality (compare for example with what Brazil, Uruguay or Argentina are achieving with redistribution). This is from the paper “Social Spending, Taxes, and Income Redistribution in Paraguay“, by Sean Higgins, Nora Lustig, Julio Ramirez, and Billy Swanson

    The table shows us that a significant number of the near-poor pay enough direct taxes to make them poor, as the headcount index for net market income using the $4 PPP per day poverty line, at 28.3%, is over one percentage point higher than the market income headcount index. This is also unique to Paraguay among countries in our sample: the others have much smaller increases in poverty caused by direct taxes. Direct transfers reduce poverty slightly, but their impact is overshadowed by the poverty-increasing impact of direct and indirect taxes: post-fiscal income poverty is higher than market income poverty using both the $2.50 and $4 PPP per day poverty lines.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    In my view, this is the main challenge of social policies in Paraguay.

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