Popular reporting: learning from the US experience francesca Manes Rossi

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Uploaded by francesca Manes Rossi     Uploaded date: January 23, 2020    
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Publication date
December 20, 2019
Paper language
Abstract
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore a citizen-centered tool for public accountability, the
popular report (PR). Elaborating on previous studies and on content analysis of a sample of municipalities in
the USA, this paper aims to identify the qualitative characteristics and content elements that PR should have
to serve as a legitimation tool.
Design/methodology/approach – The study adopts a mixed methodology. After the analysis of previous
studies on PR and best practices in US municipalities, a list of content elements and qualitative characteristics
of PR is compared with results emerging from the content analysis of PR published by of a sample of
municipalities in the USA.
Findings – The analysis reveals that the PR should embed information about the government’s sources of
revenues and taxes, expenditures, cost of government services, liveability and governance of the city.
Research limitations/implications – The paper offers new knowledge on reporting centered on citizens,
framing the analysis in the legitimacy theory. Even though the research relates only to the US context, the
results may assist standard setters in preparing guidelines for local governments to communicate financial
data to citizens and stimulate further research in other contexts.
Practical implications – The results may encourage local governments to prepare a PR suitable to
discharge accountability and gain legitimation.
Originality/value – This study is the first to discuss the PR within a theoretical framework, in this case,
legitimacy theory. Moreover, a further novelty lays in the analysis carried out on the PRs published by US
municipalities in order to derive qualitative characteristics and content elements with which the PR should comply.
Preferred Citation
Manes-Rossi, F., Aversano, N., & Polcini, P. T. (2019). Popular reporting: learning from the US experience. Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management.DOI 10.1108/JPBAFM-01-2019-0013
Keywords
Accountability; Local governments; Legitimacy theory; Popular report; Citizens’ information needs
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Category
Financial accounting
Type of Paper
Published paper

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