We are a group of researchers working on a project entitled Curbing Corruption in Procurement, funded by the Department for International Development Anti-Corruption Evidence Programme. Related research projects in this funding stream, among others, are SOAS/ACE, Informal Governance, and Islands of Integrity.
Our research analyses how procurement can be manipulated for corrupt ends using a prize-winning ‘red flags’ methodology developed by Mihály Fazekas. We collect datasets of procurement tenders and contracts, with a range of variables that indicate corruption risk, and analyse the data to identify suspicious patterns and trends, by procuring entity, supplier, and over time.
The project is led by Liz Dávid-Barrett and Mihály Fazekas, with research also undertaken by Bence Tóth, Ágnes Czibik and Isabelle Adam.
Liz Dávid-Barrett is a Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Sussex and Director of the Sussex Centre for the Study of Corruption. Her research focuses on corruption occurring at the interface between politics and business, and the role of institutions in curbing corruption. Recent work includes studies of private-sector anti-corruption clubs, favouritism in public procurement, corruption in aid spending, and lobbying and the revolving door. Liz received her DPhil from the University of Oxford and previously worked at the Said Business School, University of Oxford. Liz has written a number of research reports for Transparency International UK, given evidence on corruption to parliamentary select committees and advised the UK government on its international and national anti-corruption strategies.
Mihály Fazekas is a senior research associate at University College London where he serves as the co-PI of this research project. He is also an assistant professor at the Central European University, School of Public Policy, with a focus on using Big Data methods to understand the quality of government globally; while he serves as a scientific director of the Government Transparency Institute, which specialises in using Big Data to understand government performance. He completed his PhD at the University of Cambridge in 2014 pioneering novel Big Data methods to measure and understand high-level corruption, state capture, and state capacity in Central- and Eastern Europe. He has worked for the European Commission, EBRD, OECD, World Bank, RAND Europe, Ecole Nationale d’Administration, Hertie School of Governance, and Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Together with Bence Tóth and István János Tóth, he was awarded on two occasions the first prize in the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre competition for the best new proxy measure of corruption.
Bence Tóth is a researcher at the Government Transparency Institute and a Phd Candidate at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES). He has been working in “The Digital Whistleblower. Fiscal Transparency, Risk Assessment and Impact of Good Governance Policies Assessed” (DIGIWHIST) research project based at the University of Cambridge. He was assisting in collecting and re-publishing public contracting data from 35 jurisdictions across Europe and building indicators of administrative capacity and integrity (opentender.eu). He focuses primarily on measuring corruption and collusion risks in public procurement markets using large-scale contract level and company data. His Phd is about informality in locally managed public procurement contracts where informal enforcement and local information have particular importance in contract governance.
Ágnes Czibik is a data analyst and project manager at the Government Transparency Institute. Her field of expertise is using large administrative datasets and robust quantitative analysis to provide tools for evaluating government performance, and promoting transparency in the field of public procurement. She gained experince in working with various public procurement datasets across Europe while working in the large-scale Horizon2020 funded research project DIGIWHIST.
Isabelle Adam works as an analyst at the Government Transparency Institute, researching corruption risks in developing countries and how to curb them. She graduated in Global Public Policy at Central European University focusing on global governance of development. Previously, she studied Global Project and Change Management at Windesheim Honours College and gathered experience abroad in countries such as Uganda, Madagascar, Bolivia and Suriname to conduct field research and work in local NGOs. Isabelle’s main research interests include the promotion of good governance in the social and political context of developing countries.