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.
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Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory