What Are the Priorities of Bureaucrats? Evidence from Conjoint Experiments with Procurement Officials

Discussion and Working Paper
Discussion and Working Paper

What Are the Priorities of Bureaucrats? Evidence from Conjoint Experiments with Procurement Officials

While effective bureaucracy is crucial for state capacity, its decision-making remains a black box. We elicit preferences of 900+ real-world public procurement officials in Finland and Germany. This is an important pursuit as they report having sizeable discretion and minimal extrinsic incentives. Through conjoint experiments, we identify the relative importance of multiple features of procurement outcomes. Officials prioritize avoiding unexpectedly high prices but not seeking low prices. Avoiding winners with prior bad performance is the most important feature. Officials avoid very low competition, while litigation risks and regional favoritism play minor roles. Personal preferences and office interests appear well-aligned among bureaucrats.

Tukiainen, Janne, Blesse Sebastian, Albrecht Bohne, Leonardo Maria Giuffrida, Jääskeläinen Jan, Luukinen Ari and Sieppi Antti (forthcoming), What Are the Priorities of Bureaucrats? Evidence from Conjoint Experiments with Procurement Officials, CESifo, Munich, 2023 CESifo Working Paper No. 10199.

Authors Janne Tukiainen // Blesse Sebastian // Albrecht Bohne // Leonardo Maria Giuffrida // Jääskeläinen Jan // Luukinen Ari // Sieppi Antti