Getting a Grant is Just the First Step: Administrative Capacity and Successful Grant Implementation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines the link between the pace of utilizing the awarded intergovernmental grants and the administrative capacity of recipient government organizations. Past research focused on the relationship between higher administrative capacity and obtaining grants. However, there is a lack of attention to how capacity affects grant funds utilization, which is critical for achieving societal impact. To address this issue, the study analyzes the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) established by the CARES Act to aid state and local governments with COVID-19-related expenses. The study justifies and performs multiple regression analyses using data from various sources, including the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the U.S. Census Annual Survey of Public Employment and Payroll, and the Government Finance Officers Association. The study discovered that financial administrative capacity was positively linked to the proportion of funds spent early in the CRF program rollout, a finding that withstood scrutiny when employing various measures of administrative capacity. However, the connection between capacity and spending tapered off toward the end of the program rollout, potentially due to workload stabilization, increased program clarity from the federal government, capacity-building by recipients, and the use of external experts. The findings of this study carry significant implications for both research and practice, underlining the necessity of studying the implementation stage of government grant programs and investing in building administrative capacity within recipient organizations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-302
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican Review of Public Administration
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.


  • administrative capacity
  • funds absorption
  • intergovernmental grant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing


Dive into the research topics of 'Getting a Grant is Just the First Step: Administrative Capacity and Successful Grant Implementation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this