The process of centralization of public purchases: Regulatory evolution and empirical evidence
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This paper analyzes the process of centralization of public procurement in Italy through the progressive institutionalization of the purchasing system based on Central Purchasing Bodies at the national - Consip - and regional level. We consider all regulatory changes and normative reforms aimed at fostering the centralization of local authorities' purchases, including the new Public Procurement Code enacted on April, 2016. We use the universe of data on public procurement contracts 2015/2017 provided by the National Anti-Corruption Authority - Anac - to conduct an empirical analysis of the regulation effects. We find that i) the new Procurement Code led to an anticipation of purchases by public administrations and ii) there is substantial manipulation of contract values and sorting below the new thresholds. Both these manipulations partially offset the effects of the reform.