Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Steven A. Hecht

Committee Member

Marcelo Castro

Committee Member

James Nardozzi


Each year, the federal government spends trillions of dollars on operations and in awarding contracts, grants, loans, and other forms of financial assistance. Federal Offices of Inspectors General (OIGs) are charged with auditing and investigating fraud, waste, abuse, and misconduct affecting the government. There are 73 such OIGs – 40 of which have law enforcement authority and oversight responsibilities for a parent agency – and each is a separate organization with varying staffing levels and performance results. This study examined, on a per capita level, the relationship between staffing levels and performance results (criminal charges filed, financial recoveries, and questioned costs) at these 40 OIGs. Using data envelopment analysis, this study also examined whether there is an optimal per capita staffing level beyond which performance results start to decrease. Additionally, this study examined the relationship between audit-related and investigative-related performance results.

No relationship was found between per capita staffing levels and charges filed or questioned costs. However, a potential correlation was found between per capita staffing levels and financial recoveries. No relationship was found between the audit-related performance outcome of questioned costs per capita and the investigative-related performance outcomes of charges filed per capita and financial recoveries per capita. An optimally efficient OIG staffing level range was identified as being 0.00137 to 0.02738 full-time equivalents for every million dollars of the OIG parent agency’s budget. OIGs having staffing levels within this range were 1.089 to 1,000 times more efficient than OIGs with staffing levels outside the range. However, this range should be viewed as one within which maximum performance can be achieved as opposed to a target range that OIGs should strive to attain. OIGs with per capita staffing levels higher than the optimally efficient range did not have higher efficiency. Additionally, among the sample, no correlation was found between efficiency and either financial recoveries per capita or questioned costs per capita; however, a correlation was found between efficiency and charges filed per capita. This demonstrates that among the sample, OIGs with higher charges filed per capita had higher efficiency scores, but OIGs with higher financial recoveries per capita or questioned costs per capita did not have higher efficiency scores.