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Examining year-end spending spikes in the European Economic Area: a comparative study of procurement contracts

Clifford P. McCue (School of Public Administration, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida, USA)
Eric Prier (Department of Political Science, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida, USA)
Ryan J. Lofaro (School of Public Administration, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida, USA)

Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management

ISSN: 1096-3367

Article publication date: 1 April 2021

Issue publication date: 15 October 2021

181

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to analyze year-end spending practices in the European Economic Area (EEA) to baseline the pervasiveness of year-end spending spikes across countries in Europe.

Design/methodology/approach

The Tenders Electronic Daily dataset is used to descriptively analyze above-threshold procurement contracts by country, year and contract type from 2009 to 2018. Proportional distributions are employed to compare percentages of spend across quarters. Analyses are run within each country on the number of years displaying a fourth quarter spike, as well as within each country and contract type.

Findings

The results show that while spending spikes for above-threshold contracts in the final fiscal quarter are not consistent across all countries, patterns emerge when the data are disaggregated by country. The most populous nations in the EEA are more likely to have years with the highest proportion of fiscal spend occurring in the fourth quarter. Further, the type of contract makes a difference – services and supplies contracts are more likely to display fourth quarter spikes than works contracts.

Originality/value

This article provides the first analysis of the year-end spending spike across countries in Europe using procurement data, as well as the first to disaggregate by year and contract type. Findings support the literature on the presence of year-end spikes; such spikes exist even for above-threshold public procurement contracts.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments on this manuscript. In addition, we would like to acknowledge Emily Boykin for her critical review of this manuscript.

Citation

McCue, C.P., Prier, E. and Lofaro, R.J. (2021), "Examining year-end spending spikes in the European Economic Area: a comparative study of procurement contracts", Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, Vol. 33 No. 5, pp. 513-532. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPBAFM-11-2020-0186

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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