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Financial Resilience of Greek Local Governments

Governmental Financial Resilience

ISBN: 978-1-78714-263-3, eISBN: 978-1-78714-262-6

ISSN: 2053-7697

Publication date: 30 May 2017

Abstract

The crisis exposed Greek municipalities to bilateral financial pressures from cutbacks and increased needs for social assistance. They were directly affected by cheese-slice austerity measures that were implemented in the whole public sector (hiring freeze, cutbacks of salaries, dismissal of employees on contract basis) and successive cutbacks of state grants. In this chapter we discuss the case of four Greek municipalities. The sample was selected by taking into account the average financial performance of municipalities in terms of accrual accounting surplus/deficit over operating revenues and the volatility of this measure of financial performance over the period 2002–2012. In all four municipalities, interviews with an elected politician and municipal officials were conducted on the basis of a structured questionnaire that has been given to the interviewees before the meeting. The analysis revealed that all cities did not show significant anticipatory capabilities. This might be due to several shocks related to central government policies that were difficult to predict and to the ambiguity of the financial condition in the country. Municipalities proved to be particularly flexible and open towards social innovation and responded to the crisis through adaptation but they exhibited limited internal transformation. Nevertheless, the shock due to the crisis and the unprecedented decrease in municipal budgets has triggered a cultural shift towards more prudent management and parsimony. These findings show that Greek municipalities are still rather vulnerable to future shocks and especially to a further deepening of the on-going financial crisis.

Keywords

Citation

Cohen, S. and Hlepas, N. (2017), "Financial Resilience of Greek Local Governments", Governmental Financial Resilience (Public Policy and Governance, Vol. 27), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 135-152. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2053-769720170000027008

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017 Emerald Publishing Limited