A Critical Look at 'Use or Lose'

24 Pages Posted: 20 Jul 2020 Last revised: 5 Oct 2021

See all articles by Philip J. Candreva

Philip J. Candreva

U.S. Naval Postgraduate School; Monterey College of Law

Date Written: October 1, 2021

Abstract

Recent research approaches the “use or lose” (UorL) phenomenon in public budgeting as an economic question and have employed overly simplistic principal-agent models that result in recommendations that would likely be unworkable in practice. This paper views UorL as a governance problem rather than an economic one. By considering the laws, administrative rules, organizational structures, and institutional norms driving UorL behavior, it paints a more complete picture of the phenomenon. The paper begins with a more refined definition of UorL, reviews the literature for empirical evidence of it, describes the governance factors that influence it, critically evaluates the solutions proposed in the literature, and then makes new recommendations to improve the governance of programs and agencies to achieve better programmatic and financial outcomes.

Keywords: federal budgeting, use or lose, public management, governance

JEL Classification: D73, H30, H50

Suggested Citation

Candreva, Philip J., A Critical Look at 'Use or Lose' (October 1, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3636471 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3636471

Philip J. Candreva (Contact Author)

U.S. Naval Postgraduate School ( email )

1 University Circle
Monterey, CA 93943-5001
United States
831-656-2884 (Phone)

Monterey College of Law ( email )

100 COL DURHAM STREET
SEASIDE, CA 93955
United States

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