The Impact of Open Data on Public Procurement

Paper by Raphael Duguay, Thomas Rauter and Delphine Samuels: “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 having 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….(More)”.