The Impact of Open Data on Public Procurement
61 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2019
Date Written: November 22, 2019
We examine how the increased accessibility of public purchasing data affects competition, prices, contract allocations, and contract performance in government procurement. The European Union recently made its already public but difficult-to-access information about the process and outcomes of procurement awards available for bulk download in a user-friendly format. Comparing government contracts above EU publication thresholds with contracts that are not, we find that increasing the public accessibility of procurement data raises the likelihood of competitive bidding processes, increases the number of bids per contract, and facilitates market entry by new vendors. Following the open data initiative, procurement prices decrease and EU government agencies are more likely to award contracts to the lowest bidder. However, the increased competition comes at a cost ─ firms execute government contracts with more delays and ex-post price renegotiations. These effects are stronger for new vendors, complex procurement projects, and contracts awarded solely based on price. Overall, our results suggest that open procurement data facilitates competition and lowers ex-ante procurement prices but does not necessarily increase allocative efficiency in government contracting.
Keywords: Public Procurement; Transparency; Data Accessibility; Competition; Allocative Efficiency
JEL Classification: D61; G38; H57; M41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation