Application Period in Reverse Auctions
Sümeyra Atmaca (Ghent University)

Abstract : The duration to apply for participation in auctions affects entry costs through search costs and the time to prepare applications. The role and the determinants of the application period is studied using Russian public procurement data on gasoline in the period 2011-2013. By relying on explicit rules on the determination of the application period, we find that longer periods increase competition and eventually lead to price reductions. Moreover, we show that public buyers avoid long application periods. They shorten the period if they need gasoline immediately but we further argue that buyers limit competition by increasing entry costs to facilitate favoritism. Finally, we provide evidence of collusion sustaining favoritism.

Potential Opportunism in Public Procurement: Results of an Empirical Study
Andrei Yakovlev (Higher School of Economics)
Andrey Tkachenko (Higher School of Economics)
Yuliya Rodionova (Higher School of Economics)

Abstract : This paper presents a survey-based methodological approach to detect potential opportunism by counterparts who are linked with agents through contractual relations. The methodology proposes asking counterparts about attitudes toward some behaviors of agents, which are undesirable from the principal and benevolent counterpart perspective. The approach identifies the potential opportunism of counterparts based on the intensity with which they justify such behavior and provide unrealistic assessments of commonly known problems. The approach is especially important in a situation where the rules are inconsistent with reality and the principal can no longer disentangle the benevolent and opportunistic behavior of the agent. The authors test this approach by conducting a survey of procurers and suppliers of public procurement contracts in Russia.

Poltical Connections and Investment Activity of Russian Firms: Survey Experiment Results
Andrei Yakovlev (Higher School of Economics)
Denis Ivanov (Higher School of Economics)

Abstract : Connections between business and bureaucrats are generally seen in the literature as a source of rents and a barrier to economic development. But practically all cases of successful catching up development realized in the 20th century involved, at their initial stages, preferences to entrepreneurs who had connections with the ruling political elite. In this paper we follow the logic of the “limited access orders” framework proposed by North, Wallis and Weingast (2009, 2013), arguing that connections between business and state officials are inevitable at early development stages of a market economy – since without sources of rents elites in LAOs would not be able to restrain violence and maintain political stability. The main question is about applying these rents: are they being squandered on the elite’s personal consumption or used for productive purposes? To determine how important are connections to bureaucrats for Russian entrepreneurs we used list experiment design within large-scale survey conducted in 2017 among 21,000 Russian firms. We found that 29% of entrepreneurs consider personal connections with regional and municipal bureaucrats as an important factor of their business development. Firms that made fixed capital investments in 2016 consider personal connections to bureaucrats to be more important: 37% say so among them vs. 27% among non-investing firms. An additional test revealed that connections with bureaucrats are significantly less important for successful business operation in Russian regions within the top tier of the 2015 investment climate rating, i.e. those with a low level of administrative costs of doing business (around 18% in this subsample vs. 29% in the overall sample).