India 1999: I worked in WATSAN. Over 1000 new handpump tubewells would replace contaminated shallow wells & rusting pumps that often stood in puddles. You paddled to collect drinking water, and the puddle seeped into the well.
In the dry season it was hard to tell whether the ring was there or not. The contractor said that all 1000 rings were safely in place.
But people were angry, and Party officials also annoyed - he was only supposed to skim 1 cement bag in 10 - a steady profit, barely detectable.
But “he had got greedy and spoiled it for everyone..”.
Stakes can be REALLY high. A few examples.....
[Rumour] someone working on inventory management reform was shot....
Gripping ethnography of small-town politicians in <Ber-Bling> mansions, 4x4s, multiple mobiles. Source of their <Ker-Ching>..? bit.ly/2S94u85
So public procurement can be a magnet for corruption & criminality, & hard for even govts themselves to monitor & police.
So what hope for <the public> to have any +ve effect?
Luckily some great research, & evidence-based action, give us hope (#1-5)
I never usually say ‘awesome’ - but this is it. If you are a soc scientist who has ever run up against Big Concrete & turned back, read on. Be awed!
A: Well, Olken & co built their own test roads!
Findings: <the public> spotted missing wages, but not missing materials
E-procurement - no panacea, but raises BIG DATA possibilities.
Think: ~50% of funds for SDGs & tackling Climate Crisis are likely to be spent through Public Procurement
Dream#1: <YOU> take more notice of Public Procurement and don't imagine that someone else has it covered.
Q: Who won Malawi Kwacha 672m (£0.69m) contract for police hats?
A: Genex Export CC (1 minute search of bit.ly/2YKH0ZE )