NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Marian W. Moszoro

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Working Papers

May 2015Rigidity of Public Contracts
with Pablo T. Spiller, Sebastian Stolorz: w21186
We apply algorithmic data reading and textual analysis to compare the features of contracts in regulated industries subject to public scrutiny (which we call "public contracts") with relational private contracts. We show that public contracts are lengthier and have more rule-based rigid clauses; in addition, their renegotiation is formalized in amendments. We also find that contract length and the frequency of rigidity clauses increases in political contestability and closer to upcoming elections. We maintain that the higher rigidity of public contracts is a political risk adaptation strategy carried out by public agents attempting to lower third-party opportunistic challenges.
Political Bonds: Political Hazards and the Choice of Municipal Financial Instruments
with Abhay Aneja, Pablo T. Spiller: w21188
We study the link between the choice of rule-based public contracts and political hazards using the municipal bond market. While general obligation bonds are serviced from all municipal revenue streams and offer elected officials financial flexibility, revenue bonds limit the discretion that political agents have in repaying debt as well as the use of revenues from the projects financed by the debt. We predict that public officials choose revenue bonds when elections are very contested to signal trustworthiness and transparency in contracting to the voter. We test this hypothesis on municipal finance data that includes 6,500 bond issuances nationwide as well as election data on over 400 cities over 20 years. We provide evidence that in politically contested cities, mayors are more likely t...
December 2012Third-Party Opportunism and the Nature of Public Contracts
with Pablo T. Spiller: w18636
The lack of flexibility in public procurement design and implementation reflects public agents' political risk adaptation to limit hazards from opportunistic third parties - political opponents, competitors, interest groups - while externalizing the associated adaptation costs to the public at large. Reduced flexibility limits the likelihood of opportunistic challenge lowering third parties' expected gains and increasing litigation costs. We provide a comprehensible theoretical framework with empirically testable predictions.

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