Training for Bureaucrats Improves Transparency in Public Procurement among Ugandan District Governments


Mark T. Buntaine (University of California, Santa Barbara)

Alex Babago (Makerere University)

Paul Bukuluki (Makerere University)

Brigham Daniels (University of Utah)

Gerald Auku Padde (Transparency International Uganda)


Governments are usually the largest purchaser of goods and services in an economy, which creates significant opportunities for corruption. We study whether training procurement officials in fifty Ugandan districts to publish procurement actions in an online public portal, as is legally required, increased compliance. Within the districts receiving training, we randomized whether or not the procurement officials received information in advance about the potential to earn a public award for adherence to these transparency standards. This design allows us to assess the relative impact of capacity building and awards on compliance with transparency standards. The training increased the number and value of procurement actions uploaded by several times, while information about eligibility for an award only marginally boosted adherence with the transparency standards. These results suggest that motivation problems may be overemphasized in the fight against corruption, but that building technical capacity can make significant headway in the fight against corruption when anti-corruption efforts require new skills and effort.

Published: November 2023

Download: PDF here