The growing attention of governments, international organizations and NGOs to public procurement issues over the last two decades has been accompanied by many studies on the efficiency of public procurement. However, few researchers have considered the costs of procurement regulation for public customers and private suppliers. This problem is especially acute for the public procurement system in Russia. In this paper we propose an approach to measuring public customers’ procurement costs. We test this approach with the data on a large Russian public customer: Voronezh State University. We show that the proposed approach is universal and can be applied at a micro level by other public customers to measure the efficiency of their procurement and to optimize the costs. This approach can also be used as a basis for a larger inquiry into the costs and effectiveness of procurement at the level of regional authorities or sectoral ministries.
Contrary to previous studies of relational contracting this paper analyzes the impact of repeated procurements on the price of a simple homogeneous product. Using a large dataset on procurements of AI-92 gasoline in Russia in 2011, we show that price difference between repeated and one-time contracts can be explained by the type of procurement procedures. Less transparent procedures (single-sourcing and requests for quotations) are more suitable for corrupt collusion. This might explain relative price increase in this case. On the contrary, the prices of repeated contracts were lower compared to one-time procurement in the case of more transparent e-auctions.