Uncovering high-level corruption: cross-national objective corruption risk indicators using public procurement data
Measuring high-level corruption is subject to extensive scholarly and policy interest, which has achieved moderate progress in the last decade. This article develops two objective proxy measures of high-level corruption in public procurement: single bidding in competitive markets and a composite score of tendering ‘red flags’. Using official government data on 2.8 million contracts in twenty-eight European countries in 2009–14, we directly operationalize a common definition of corruption: unjustified restriction of access to public contracts to favour a selected bidder. Corruption indicators are calculated at the contract level, but produce aggregate indices consistent with well-established country-level indicators, and are also validated by micro-level tests. Data are published at http://digiwhist.eu/resources/data/.