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Measuring bureaucracy costs

Mission and methodology

Bureaucracy – the regulated government administration based on laws and ordinances – is indispensable for a modern society to work properly. It protects people from arbitrary action by individuals or the government. Excessive bureaucracy, however, annoys citizens, businesses and authorities and it involves unnecessary expenditure. To be able to define the required level of bureaucracy and to reduce excessive administrative burdens in a useful and transparent way, it is important to know the causes and the distribution of burdens. By measuring bureaucracy costs, existing regulations are analysed and the results are taken as a basis to develop proposals for a reduction of administrative burdens.
The relevant measure of bureaucracy and the basis of measurement is the compliance costs. The methodology applied is the Standard Cost Model.


As a result of measuring bureaucracy costs, the Federal Statistical Office publishes the development of the compliance costs, the bureaucracy cost index and the barometer of burdens.
While the development of the compliance costs and the barometer of burdens are updated every year, the bureaucracy cost index is published on a quarterly basis.

Citizens and businesses are largely satisfied with the public authorities in Germany

As part of the Federal Government initiative "Official and simple – Public administrative services within easy reach" the Federal Statistical Office asked citizens and businesses in two separate surveys how satisfied they are with government services. The results show that both groups are largely satisfied with public authorities, even though companies are slightly more critical.

On a scale of –2 (very dissatisfied) to +2 (very satisfied), the aggregate rating by citizens and businesses was 1.06 and 0.94, respectively. In the 22 life situations of citizens examined, general satisfaction with government services received very different ratings: citizens are most satisfied with the services they receive when getting married or entering into a same-sex partnership (1.46). On the other hand, ratings were not so high for citizens dealing with public agencies due to unemployment (0.69) or financial problems (0.37). The Federal Statistical Office analysed 10 situations of businesses with "Vocational and continuing training" (1.21) and "Health and safety at work" (1.14) reaching the highest level of satisfaction, while the participation in tendering process (0.82) and the construction of an establishment (0.50) received the worst ratings. The results show where measures can be launched to improve cooperation between public institutions, citizens and businesses to achieve a more noticeable bureaucracy reduction.

The President of the Federal Statistical Office presented the results of both surveys in two press conferences in Berlin. The translated press releases (citizens and businesses) and press statements (citizens and businesses) give further information on the surveys and provide more detailed results.

© Statistisches Bundesamt (Destatis), 2018

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