Scripting Corruption in Public Procurement: The Italian Case
Catholic University of Milan
March 5, 2012
Despite the growing concern over corruption in public procurement, there is little knowledge regarding the corruption-commission process. Scant attention has been paid to the event-decisions of corrupt agents in order to explore how an agent decides to pay, how he identifies his partner, how he contacts him, how he negotiates with him, how he manages to achieve his goal, and how he protects himself against “lemons”. The aim of this research is to understand the corruption-commission process by using crime script analysis to delve into the event-decisions of corrupt agents. Therefore, within the Italian context, this research seeks to answer the following questions: how do corrupt deals in public procurement take place? What are the tactics, dynamics and the modi operandi of corrupt agents? What are the steps of corruption-commission in the specific area of public procurement? How can these steps be explained? What are the facilitators of corruption-commission? These questions are answered through a qualitative analysis of 22 court cases and of information provided by 45 key informants. These data allow identifying a crime script of corruption in public procurement consisting in 3 key stages and 8 moves. It is concluded that corruption in public procurement is embodied in an encounter between agents engaged in a dialogue shaped by a tension between trust and fear and that the need to break this tension should inspire “situational corruption prevention” policies.
Keywords: rational choice, script, script analysis, even-decisions, corruption, crime, criminology
JEL Classification: A1, C7working papers series
Date posted: March 15, 2012 ; Last revised: March 19, 2012
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