Public Procurement, Bid Rigging, Corruption and Cartels in Times of Covid-19

The public procurement sector has been strongly affected by the emergency rules introduced because of the pandemic. These induced derogation to the competitive procedures for the award of public contracts, reduced the transparency of procedures leading to higher risk of abuses and corruption. In Italy the result may worsen an already complex setting. This paper investigates 617 judicial decisions of the Italian Supreme Court over the period 2016-2020 involving the so-called bid-rigging. We identify some recurring elements, taking into account collusion mostly in the form of cartels, corruption and other conducts. We consider frequency, reference market, value of the contract, number and role of parties involved, type of tender procedure and award criteria, outcome of the judgment, influence of organized crime. The result is an interesting picture of which we try to identify colors and shades as well as implications and costs on the economy and the market.