Polina Detkova

I am a graduate student in the Social Sciences PhD program at Caltech. I am primarily interested in Experimental Economics.

Here are my CV and Google Scholar profile.

Contact: pdetkova@caltech.edu



Work in progress

Failing to Plan or Planning to Fail? A Study on Commitment (with Egor Stoyan)

Does Information Really Validate the Prior? An Experiment (with Marina Agranov)

The Identified Helper Effect on the Frequency of Asks [slides from ESA North American Meeting, October 2023] 



Pre-graduate publications

The Changing Perceptions of Corruption during the COVID Pandemic in Russia  (with Andrei Yakovlev, Andrey Tkachenko, Pavel Pronin).  In: Procurement in Focus: Rules, Discretion, and Emergencies (2021).  Editors: Oriana Bandiera, Erica Bosio, and Giancarlo Spagnolo.

This paper studies the dynamic changes in corruption perceptions by public buyers and suppliers in Russia during the COVID pandemic. We conduct an online list experiment among the market participants in three waves: before the pandemic spread, during the strict lockdown, and after some stabilization. The paper shows a gap in how the market participants blame their side on corruption in public procurement. It is negligible before the COVID pandemic and significantly enlarges with the progress of the pandemic. We find that buyers’ perception of corruption among buyers is lower when the number of officially published new COVID cases is high. However, suppliers’ perception of corruption among suppliers is significantly higher when the excess deaths are high. These results indicate the changes in how market participants comprehend what interactions are corrupt. Some informal practices of buyers, which were forbidden before the COVID pandemic, are not perceived as abuse anymore. Suppliers, observing these revealed informal practices and becoming more dependent on public demand during the COVID pandemic, believe in the growth of corruption among suppliers.

A high level of corruption usually constrains economic development in emerging countries. However, anti-corruption campaigns often fail because the relevant policies need to be implemented by existing corrupt governments. This article studies the extent of bureaucrats’ heterogeneity in attitude to the problem of corruption. Due to the sensitivity of direct questions on corruption, we conduct the list experiment among public procurement officials in Russia. We show that female bureaucrats consider corruption an obstacle to public procurement development, and find no such evidence for male bureaucrats. This heterogeneity holds even at the high-level occupied positions. Although the negative attitude to corruption does not necessarily imply the anti-corruption activity by women, recognition of the problem seems to be a prerequisite for supporting an anti-corruption policy.

This paper estimates the impact of corruption on the incentives of procurers to maintain honest competition in tenders. Customers, who procure for themselves, and Agencies, who procure for the customers in their region are considered. Basing on a large dataset of open auctions conducted by Russian regional-level authorities in 2011, the analysis shows that in highly corrupt regions, Agencies fail to arrange competitive tenders and most of auctions have one bidder. Customers attract more bidders for large contracts, but rebates are usually low. Therefore, procurement centralization may reduce the corruption of Customers, but cannot solve the problem of low competition.