ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study is to examine the determinants of online availability and the ease of accessibility of U.S. municipality, county, school district, and special district audited financial statements. Using a sample of local governments that prepared 2017 audited financial statements, we find that certain forms of oversight by voters, auditors, and states are positively associated with the availability of audited financial statements. Our descriptive analysis also suggests that smaller governments, special districts, and school districts, many of which cover vast constituency populations, are lagging behind their municipality and county counterparts in online financial reporting. Our multivariate results suggest that as legislative/oversight bodies and citizens consider the potential benefits of additional forms of local government oversight, they should consider our findings that greater oversight is positively associated with the availability of local government audited financial statements.

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