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State of government accounting in Ghana and Benin: a “tentative” account

Philippe Jacques Codjo Lassou (Department of Management, University of Guelph , Guelph, Canada)

Journal of Accounting in Emerging Economies

ISSN: 2042-1168

Article publication date: 6 November 2017




The purpose of this paper is to examine the state of government accounting in Ghana and Benin using neo-patrimonial and organizational façade lenses.


The study used two country case studies that engaged with stakeholders including donors, civil society, politicians, and civil servants. Semi-structured interviews were used as the main data collection technique, which were complemented by document analysis.


The study finds that government accounting reforms are decoupled and used in both countries as a façade which is caused, to a varying degree, by indigenous neo-patrimonial governance traits of informal institutions, patronage, and clientelism. And despite the relatively superior Ghanaian system, in terms of its functioning, compared to the Beninese, government accounting plays a more symbolic role in the former than in the latter.


This is one of the very few theoretically informed empirical studies that examine the state of government accounting in the two major African settings – Anglophone and Francophone. The results inform policies more tailored to indigenous governance issues for better outcomes.



Lassou, P.J.C. (2017), "State of government accounting in Ghana and Benin: a “tentative” account", Journal of Accounting in Emerging Economies, Vol. 7 No. 4, pp. 486-506.



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