To read this content please select one of the options below:

Determinants of mandatory disclosure compliance in Swedish municipalities

Pierre Donatella (School of Public Administration, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden)

Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management

ISSN: 1096-3367

Article publication date: 2 April 2020

Issue publication date: 15 June 2020




The purpose of this article is to examine whether, and if so, to what extent, noncoercive isomorphism determines mandatory disclosure compliance at a later stage of an accounting reform.


The analysis of compliance is based on data from 289 Swedish municipalities for 2016, which is nearly two decades after the initial legal reform in which mandatory requirements were imposed by the Swedish government in an effort to harmonize financial reporting practice. Following the standard approach in the literature, an unweighted compliance index was used as dependent variable. Proxies for municipal accounting networks and involvement in professional government accounting associations were used to explain individual municipalities' levels of compliance.


Differences in individual municipalities' levels of compliance were strongly related to the financial reporting practice of other municipalities in their accounting network. These results suggest that normative and mimetic isomorphic pressure stemming from these local networks, where accounting departments continually meet and share experiences, is a very potent force. In contrast, isomorphic pressure stemming from involvement in activities offered by professional government accounting associations is generally not a potent force at this stage.

Practical implications

In settings where municipal accounting networks exist, it may be effective to stimulate de facto harmonization by directing information, education and other efforts toward the professional environment in which these networks operate.


Unlike prior literature, the data in this study are from a later stage of a public sector accounting reform.



I would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers and Giuseppe Grossi, JPBAFM editor in chief, for their supportive and valuable comments. I would also like to thank research assistant Magnus Thor for help with data collection. Finally, I would like to thank School of Public Administration and Kommunforskning i Västsverige for their financial support of this research project.


Donatella, P. (2020), "Determinants of mandatory disclosure compliance in Swedish municipalities", Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, Vol. 32 No. 2, pp. 247-265.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles