Court Efficiency and Procurement Performance
33 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2018
Date Written: July 2018
Disputes over penalties for breaching a contract are often resolved in court. A simple model illustrates how inefficient courts can sway public buyers from enforcing a penalty for late delivery in order to avoid litigation, thereby inducing sellers to delay contract delivery. By using a large dataset on Italian public procurement, we empirically study the effects of court inefficiency on public work performance. Where courts are inefficient, we find the following: public works are delivered with longer delays; delays increase for more valuable contracts; contracts are more often awarded to larger suppliers; and a higher share of the payment is postponed after delivery. Other interpretations receive less support from the data.
Keywords: Court efficiency, delay, enforcement cost, litigation, performance in contract execution, public procurement, time incentives
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