Aly Abdou, Olivier Basdevant, Elizabeth David-Barrett, and Mihaly Fazekas
Public procurement can be highly vulnerable to corruption. This paper outlines a methodology and results in assessing corruption risks in public procurement and their impact on relative prices, using large databases on government contracts and tenders. Our primary contribution is to analyze how price differential in public procurement contracts can be explained by corruption risk factor (aggregated in a synthetic corruption risk index). While there are intrinsic limitations to our study (price differentials can come from structural reasons, such as a limited number of potential suppliers) it still provides a guiding tool to assess where corruption risks would have the biggest budgetary impact. Such analysis helps inform mitigating policies owing to the granular data used.
Ms. Anja Baum, Clay Hackney, Mr. Paulo A Medas, and Mouhamadou Sy
State-owned enterprises (SOEs) are present in key sectors of the economies around the world. While they can provide an important public service, there is widespread concern that their activities are negatively affected by corruption. However, there is limited cross-country analysis on the costs of corruption for SOEs. We present new evidence on how corruption affects the performance of SOEs using firm level data across a large number of countries. One striking result is that SOEs perform as well as private firms in core sectors when corruption is low. Taking advantage of a novel database reforms, we also show that SOE governance reforms can generate significant performance gains.
The paper examines the evolution and drivers of labor force participation in European regions, focusing on the effects of trade and technology. As in the United States, rural regions within European countries saw more pronounced declines (or smaller increases) in participation than urban regions. Unlike in the United States, however, trade and technology, captured here using novel measures of initial exposures to routinization and offshoring, did not result in detachment from the workforce in European regions. Instead, regions with high initial exposures to routinization and offshoring experienced so-far larger increases in participation, likely driven by an added second worker effect.
This Selected Issues paper analyzes the extent of corruption in Ukraine compared with other countries. The level of corruption in Ukraine is exceptionally high. This could severely undermine economic growth prospects by hindering private investment. Reducing corruption is therefore essential to speed economic convergence with the rest of Europe. Regional comparisons help identify best practices in reducing corruption. The Ukrainian authorities have recently adopted key measures that follow some of these best practices. The country is, however, facing several challenges, including the concentration of political and economic power in a small group of people, which may hamper effective anticorruption efforts.
This paper highlights Bulgaria’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs) sector and to assess its performance in a regional perspective. A detailed and rich firm-level dataset of state-owned and private firms was compiled for this note to compare key performance indicators of SOEs to private firms in the same sector and to similar firms in Croatia and Romania for a regional comparison. In some network industries, such as energy, SOEs are heavily loss-making. Large amounts of debt have been piled up notably in the energy and transport sectors which, to the extent that it is classified outside the general government accounts, can pose significant risk to public finances in the form of contingent liabilities if the SOEs run into financial difficulties. SOE profitability and resource allocation efficiency largely lag private firms in the same sectors, even when isolating SOEs engaged in competitive market activities and hence classified outside of general government. Coupled with comparably poor output quality, these challenges have the potential to impair competitiveness and productivity across the economy.
This paper discusses recent economic developments, outlook, and risks related to the Romanian economy. Romania made important progress in addressing economic imbalances and restoring growth after the global financial crisis. Prudent policies, partly in the context of successive IMF-supported programs, reduced vulnerabilities, and the fiscal and current account deficits improved markedly. However, economic policies have weakened recently and hard-won gains are at risk of being reversed. Governance problems have received more attention recently, and Romania has made progress compared to its peers in the fight against corruption. Staff’s baseline projection is for growth to remain above potential in 2016–17.
Threats to external stability in the pre-crisis period have now been reduced substantially and foreign non-debt creating flows have declined, sufficient to support external stability. The global economic downturn has raised challenges for evaluating the countries’ fiscal stance and fiscal policy focus should be lowering support to debt sustainability, private sector development, and the currency board stability. The two entity pension funds have been under increasing financial pressures. Putting the public pension systems on a sound footing will encompass a number of complementary steps.