Fraud in public funding can have deleterious consequences for the economic, social, and political well-being of societies. Fraudulent activity associated with public procurement contracts accounts for losses of billions of euros every year. Thus, it is of utmost relevance to explore analytical frameworks that can help public authorities identify agents that are more susceptible to incur in irregular activities. Here, we use standard network science methods to study the co-biding relationships between firms that participate in public tenders issued by the 184 municipalities of the State of Ceará (Brazil) between 2015 and 2019. We identify 22 groups/communities of firms with similar patterns of procurement activity, defined by their geographic and activity scopes. The profiling of the communities allows us to highlight groups that are more susceptible to market manipulation and irregular activities. Our work reinforces the potential application of network analysis in policy to unfold the complex nature of relationships between market agents in a scenario of scarce data.
|Publication status||Published - 17 Apr 2021|
|Name||Physics. Physics and Society|