Determinants of voluntary Internet financial reporting by local government authorities

Fawzi Laswad, Richard Fisher, Peter Oyelere

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

201 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The reform of public sector (local and central government) financial reporting in New Zealand in the early 1990s has aligned such reporting with reporting practices in the private sector (business enterprises). Literature examining the behaviour of managers in the public (government) sector suggests that agency relationships in the sector motivate such managers to provide information to enable the monitoring of their actions. This literature identifies a number of characteristics and variables that proxy for agency costs in the public sector. The recent development of the Internet provides an opportunity for examining voluntary disclosure in the public sector and, in particular, in the local government environment. Some New Zealand local government authorities elect to voluntarily provide financial information on their websites. This paper examines the voluntary Internet financial reporting practices of local authorities. Six variables associated with voluntary disclosure are examined: political competition, size, leverage, municipal wealth, press visibility, and type of local authority. Results indicate that leverage, municipal wealth, press visibility, and type of council are associated with the Internet financial reporting practices of local authorities in New Zealand. Policy implications and possible limitations of the study as well as suggestions for future research are discussed in the paper.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-121
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Accounting and Public Policy
Volume24
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2005
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Internet financial reporting
  • Local governments
  • New Zealand
  • Voluntary disclosure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Sociology and Political Science

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