Der Haushaltszyklus und das "Dezemberfieber"
The paper deals with the "year-end surge"-phenomenon ("Dezemberfieber"), i.e. the resources that are spent at the end of the fiscal year by the public bureaucracy to avoid cuts in their budgets in the following fiscal years. The peculiarities of the political process, especially the maximizing behavior of bureaucrats and politicians, lead to rational year-end surges. The three phases of the budget cycle - planning, implementation and control - are examined with regard to conditions that lead to slack resources. It is shown that bureaucrats are able to hide slack resources in the incremental budgeting process and that a "rational" budget is not sufficient to significantly uncover slack. Furthermore, the rules that govern the implementation process, produce incentives to use the available resources inefficiently. Finally, control of the bureaucracy is widely viewed as ineffective, but it is shown that there are both "fire alarm" and "police patrol" oversight mechanisms that are likely to take into account the goals of politicians. Politicians try to minimize their agency costs to control the bureaucracy. This is illustrated by the bargaining process between the executive bureaucracy and the Appropriations Committee (Haushaltsausschuß) of the Deutsche Bundestag.
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