In public debate, political successes and failures are usually attributed to individual politicians and their competence. This book provides a first comprehensive analysis of how political decision makers and their individual backgrounds affect fiscal policy. The empirical examination employs three new and unique data sets. The data sets combine information on fiscal policy of German municipalities, German states, and EU countries with the biographies of the respective political decision makers. The author investigates how the politicians individual qualification (e.g., educational and professional background) and their preferences (e.g., party affiliation) affect fiscal performance.