Cartels in Infrastructure Procurement: Evidence from Lebanon

A study conducted by The Policy Initiative in collaboration with Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Lebanon Office.

How do cartels work? Dealmaking at Lebanon’s Council for Development and Reconstruction


This paper explores the mechanisms of cartels in Lebanon’s infrastructure procurement sector. The study relies on a quantitative analysis of a dataset composed of all 394 infrastructure procurement contracts awarded between 2008 and 2018 by Lebanon’s Council for Development and Reconstruction (CDR). The CDR is by far the country’s most important infrastructure development agency and a central pillar of the power-sharing arrangement by providing a major source of rents for sectarian elites.

The research moves beyond previous studies' focus on contractors and analyzes the interaction between the development agency (in this case CDR), the contractor, and consultants by identifying the political connections of both the contractor and the consultancy firms involved in the implementation of a procurement contract.

In this work, two new methodologies are presented:

1- Focusing on procurement consultants, an immensely important player in the procurement process with a large degree of influence and discretion in different phases of a project cycle, earning them the label of “masters of the game.”

2- Differentiation between the “quality” of a political connection.



Nour Alwan


Projekt-Koordinatorin +961 (0)1 388 095/6