Government procurement worldwide is worth around $9.5 trillion a year. Oil, gas, and mining rents (the gap between the price of the goods produced and the cost of production) amount to around $5 trillion, which is 4.8 percent of global GDP. Governments routinely sign multibillion-dollar contracts regarding the use of public property including those natural resources. The resulting contracts are public documents, for which default practice should be in favor of publication.
Government contracts regarding the use of public property and finances should be published by default. Many jurisdictions already require that contracts be made public in response to requests for the information; some now publish contracts proactively. Doing so helps new entrants compete in the market for public contracts, helps governments model their projects on other successful examples, and allows citizens greater insight into how their taxes are being spent. This provides a practical outline for reaping the benefits of open contracts while addressing legitimate concerns about costs, collusion, privacy, commercial secrecy, and national security.
The Millennium Challenge Corporation is a US agency that provides results-oriented assistance to low- and lower-middle income countries that exhibit strong performance on a number of measures of development. Among these measures is the Worldwide Governance Indicator for control of corruption. A country must score in the top half of its income group on control of corruption to pass the overall selection procedure. This paper examines the empirical underpinning of this “corruption hard hurdle.”
Why don’t foreign aid programs simply pay recipients for attaining agreed upon results? The idea has been around for decades, but it continues to meet resistance.