Public procurement is vulnerable to corruption.

Estimates of bribes range from 8% to 25 per cent of the value of procured goods, services, or works. For example, a recent EU study found that inefficiencies in public procurement amount to 18 per cent of the overall project budgets concerned, two-thirds of which can be attributed to corruption.

While governments have traditionally attempted to mitigate corruption risks in public procurement through regulation, the latest research (for example, Bosio et al. 2020) shows that laws on their own are largely ineffective at reducing the risk of bribery. Instead, more focus should be placed on procurement practices, as these are highly correlated with corruption.

In particular, the main focus of anti-corruption efforts can be directed towards some specific features of procurement practice. To benchmark public procurement laws and practices, Bosio et al. (2020) use an index that documents the extent of public procurement rules and regulations in four key areas.

A version of this article appears in the print on August 19 2021, of The Himalayan Times.