How Government Agencies React to Termination Threats

Jostein Askim, Jens Blom-Hansen, Kurt Houlberg, Søren Serritzlew

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Much research following Kaufman’s classic study Are Government Organizations Immortal? has investigated the claim that government agencies enjoy great security and long life. Less attention has been paid to Kaufman’s thesis that government agencies facing a termination threat have strong incentives to react. In a study of the on-going Norwegian local government amalgamation reform, we demonstrate that this type of government agency reacts by hoarding (i.e., a last-minute flurry of spending) when faced with a termination threat. This finding shows that agencies facing termination threats are active players in the termination game. We discuss implications for research on agency termination and design implications for reformers of the public sector.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Public Administration Research and Theory
Pages (from-to)324–338
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


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