Citizen-Centered Reporting: Assessing Popular Financial Reporting Practice in Italian Decentralized Governments

  •  Carla Del Gesso    
  •  Luca Romagnoli    


Given their proximity to citizens, Decentralized Governments (DGs) need to perform and report their activities from a citizen-centered perspective to improve transparency and accountability. The literature addressing reporting for citizens is piecemeal, and there is a dearth of studies that systematically analyze country experiences of popular reporting. To contribute to bridging this gap, this article provides an assessment of popular financial reporting practices in 370 Italian DGs from different perspectives. The authors evaluated the accessibility and readability of popular reports using simple, yet insightful quantitative measures. The results highlighted that Italian popular financial reporting practices are at an early stage of implementation. Popular reporting appears to be more difficult to implement in smaller municipalities than other levels of government. This research emphasizes citizen-centered reporting to support citizen-centered governance and accountability, suggesting that popular reporting practices in DGs need to increase; an improvement of the accessibility and readability of documents is also advisable to foster their usage. Greater and better popular reporting practices in DGs are needed to encourage citizen participation in the democratic processes of public governance in order to allow for better government performance results.

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