Jeffrey B. Liebman, Neale Mahoney

Bibliographic Information

NBER Working Paper No. 19481
Issued in September 2013, Revised in January 2018
NBER Program(s):PE

A non-technical summary of this paper is available in the March 2014 NBER Digest.  You can sign up to receive the NBER Digest by email.

Published: Jeffrey B. Liebman & Neale Mahoney, 2017. "Do Expiring Budgets Lead to Wasteful Year-End Spending? Evidence from Federal Procurement," American Economic Review, vol 107(11), pages 3510-3549.

This paper was revised on January 3, 2018

Available Formats


Many organizations have budgets that expire at the end of the fiscal year and may face incentives to rush to spend resources on low quality projects at year’s end. We test these predictions using data on procurement spending by the U.S. federal government. Spending in the last week of the year is 4.9 times higher than the rest-of-the-year weekly average, and year-end information technology projects have substantially lower quality ratings. We also analyze the gains from allowing agencies to roll over unused funds into the next fiscal year.

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