The Employee Costs of Corporate Debarment in Public Procurement

71 Pages Posted: 2 Dec 2019 Last revised: 7 Dec 2021

Date Written: November 16, 2019


This paper studies an increasingly popular anti-corruption policy --- corporate debarment or blacklisting --- to understand how both disclosing illicit corporate practices and the sanctions for these practices affect firm and worker outcomes. I exploit a unique policy change in Brazil that imposed stricter penalties for corrupt firms. I combine the universe of firms that were publicly debarred and excluded from public procurement with detailed matched employer-employee administrative data. Using a matched difference-in-differences approach, I find that debarment is associated with a sizable decline in employment and an increase in the probability of exiting the formal sector. I also document that workers' annual earnings fall by about 22 percent after debarment. The impacts are driven by lost revenues from government contracts. Workers who have previously worked in debarred firms also experience earnings losses. The results shed light on the costs to workers when their employers are debarred in weighing the consequences of corruption crackdown.

Keywords: Corruption, Blacklisting, Debarment, Labor Market Outcomes, Procurement

JEL Classification: D73, H57, J01, J31

Suggested Citation

Szerman, Christiane, The Employee Costs of Corporate Debarment in Public Procurement (November 16, 2019). Available at SSRN: or

Christiane Szerman (Contact Author)

Princeton University ( email )

Department of Economics
Julis Romo Rabinowitz Building
Princeton, NJ 08544
United States

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