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Special Issue "Sustainability in Public Administrations: Evaluation of Performance and Financial Analysis"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Vicente Pina
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
University of Zaragoza
Interests: transparency and accountability of public administrations; corporate governance in the public sector; financial risks in public governments
Prof. Dr. Patricia Bachiller
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
University of Zaragoza
Interests: financial risks in public governments; corporate governance in the public sector; performance measurement in the public sector

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue aims at contributing with new insights regarding the performance and corporate governance of the public sector to reach sustainability in public administrations (state and local governments, universities, hospitals, nationalized entities, etc. in developing and developed countries).

Public concerns about the level of countries’ borrowing have arisen, and the need to reduce the public sector cost and the debt results in the implementation of mandatory requirements in many countries. Such concerns create pressure to make public statements about the sustainability of their debt and how financially prudent they are in order to restore the financial markets confidence. Therefore, original contributions are encouraged in governance and management by including methods, tools, and practices aligned with the contemporary necessity to create and implement a sustainable public sector.

Although theoretical papers are also welcome for this Special Issue, preference will be given to empirical and comparative analyses. We expect new practical insights for the stakeholders involved in the implementation of sustainable public administrations of entities.

Prof. Dr. Vicente Pina
Prof. Dr. Patricia Bachiller
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Performance of public administrations
  • Financial risk in local governments
  • Default risk in public sector
  • Sustainable local decision-making
  • Sustainable development goals (SDG)

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Article
Financial Reporting Quality and Online Disclosure Practices in Spanish Governmental Agencies
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2437; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052437 - 24 Feb 2021
Viewed by 577
Abstract
Good governance in the public sector implies high accountability levels. Accountability is a multidimensional concept that includes the quantity and reliability of disclosures as well as rendering accounts to the citizenry. Nowadays, good governance, accountability, and financial performance are key for the long-term [...] Read more.
Good governance in the public sector implies high accountability levels. Accountability is a multidimensional concept that includes the quantity and reliability of disclosures as well as rendering accounts to the citizenry. Nowadays, good governance, accountability, and financial performance are key for the long-term sustainability of autonomous public sector organizations. The objective of this paper is to study how key governance features relate to the quantity and quality of the information disclosed. In particular, how the governing body, financial performance and organizational features relate to online transparency and financial reporting quality, as well as how these two accountability dimensions are related. To fulfill this objective, we have used the Structural Equation Modeling, Partial Least Squares (PLS-SEM) approach. The focus of our analyses is on Spanish central government agencies. The size of, and a greater presence of independent members in, the governing body are explanatory factors behind the quality of the financial reports. Our findings also show that the quality of the financial information is also affected by the pressure that Eurostat requirements -deficit limits- puts on public sector entities, which leads to the use of smoothing practices. Online disclosure practices are not explained by the features of the governing body, but by the size of the agencies and their financial results. The better the financial reporting quality, the higher the online disclosure levels. Full article
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Article
The Effective Role of Internal Factors on Reconstructing Telecom Companies: The Case of Yemen Telecom
Sustainability 2021, 13(3), 1501; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031501 - 01 Feb 2021
Viewed by 584
Abstract
Background: This paper highlights the effects of internal factors on restructuring state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and investigates how these factors have positive or negative effects on applying a new structure in SOEs companies. Yemen Telecom (YT) is an example of an SOE company that [...] Read more.
Background: This paper highlights the effects of internal factors on restructuring state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and investigates how these factors have positive or negative effects on applying a new structure in SOEs companies. Yemen Telecom (YT) is an example of an SOE company that belongs to the government and has a social responsibility. By following scientific theories related to research’s factors, we tried to tie our hypotheses to the theories applied to make our factors near reality and be applicable in the future. Methods: In this study, we used empirical research by making an investigation by distributing a questionnaire amongst people who have a relationship with Yemen Telecom. Moreover, the structural equation model (SEM) was used in the current study as the statistical technique for the collected data. Results: The results of this study indicate that illiteracy in using the computer (IIUC) and applying the IT Software (AIS) has adverse effects on reconstructing telecom companies (RTC); also, AIS has a causality effect between illiteracy in using computers (IIUC) and RTC. Moreover, support from top management (SFTM), infrastructure (INF), and efficiency and effectiveness of managerial operations (EaE) have positive effects on RTC. Conclusions: This study concluded that IIUC, TMS, INF, and EaE have an apparent effect on RTC, and AIS has a causality effect between IIUC and RTC. Moreover, the study declares that there is less significance between AIS and RTC. Full article
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Article
Financial Sustainability of Local Governments in the Eyes of Finnish Local Politicians
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10207; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310207 - 07 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 655
Abstract
Local government aims for financial sustainability in ensuring the wellbeing of citizens at the expense of their tax incomes. As members of local councils, local politicians are the highest decision-makers who are responsible for setting the aims and evaluating the outcome of municipal [...] Read more.
Local government aims for financial sustainability in ensuring the wellbeing of citizens at the expense of their tax incomes. As members of local councils, local politicians are the highest decision-makers who are responsible for setting the aims and evaluating the outcome of municipal operations. Hence, local politicians’ notions on financial sustainability play an important role in sustainable decision-making. Although financial sustainability is seen important, previous research is limited in providing studies on the multidimensional nature of financial sustainability. Prior research has focused on the measurement of financial sustainability, often in the contexts of financial difficulties. This paper aims to answer this research gap by studying local politicians’ interpretations on financial sustainability and contributing to a deeper understanding of the phenomenon. This qualitative study employs interview data collected from 24 Finnish local politicians from five municipalities. Based on the content analysis of the interview data, financial sustainability is, in the eyes of local politicians, a political issue with multiple factors in and out of the reach of decision-makers. These notions could be utilized in future research in developing methods for measuring and managing financial sustainability in local governments. Full article
Article
Are Central Government Rules Okay? Assessing the Hidden Costs of Centralised Discipline for Municipal Borrowing
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 9932; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12239932 - 27 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 478
Abstract
In the EU, the specialty municipal banks have been the traditional funding source besides tax sharing and governmental transfers for Local Governments (LGs). With the decentralization process, LGs experienced different market-based options so that banks were no longer the only source of funding. [...] Read more.
In the EU, the specialty municipal banks have been the traditional funding source besides tax sharing and governmental transfers for Local Governments (LGs). With the decentralization process, LGs experienced different market-based options so that banks were no longer the only source of funding. However, with the onset of the Eurozone crisis, public sector debt is no more risk-free, and the cost of borrowing became unstable over time. To minimise such risks, Central Governments forced LGs to adopt general principles of control of local borrowing. Previous studies evidenced that centralised controls affect unitary countries more than federations. This paper investigates the Centralised Discipline and Control Model to understand whether it generates hidden costs. For such a purpose, the paper compares municipal bonds against borrowing from banks in Italy, a European unitary country. This paper highlights the existence of hidden costs for Italian LGs because the Central Government set up an expensive system for controlling the entire public sector debt. Policy makers should pay particular attention to which model of control to adopt by considering their country’s specific characteristics and the potential impacts of the different models on them, according to the present economic circumstances. Full article
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Article
Perspective of Local Government on the Performance Assessment of District Sports and Leisure Centers
Sustainability 2020, 12(21), 9094; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12219094 - 31 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 791
Abstract
This paper addresses the problem of performance management of operate-transfer (OT) project finance for public sports and leisure centers (SLC) from the perspective of local government. This study contributes to use an evolutionary theory of competitive advantage and mixed-methods, including a modified Delphi [...] Read more.
This paper addresses the problem of performance management of operate-transfer (OT) project finance for public sports and leisure centers (SLC) from the perspective of local government. This study contributes to use an evolutionary theory of competitive advantage and mixed-methods, including a modified Delphi method to develop the efficiency-based performance model (EPM) under OT project finance for the public SLCs. The total-factor framework disaggregating the efficiency into an innovative output surplus target ratio (OSTR) provides local governments with a contracted period to manage the SLCs through further specific improvement advice. This study further proposed the four-quadrant matrix formulated by long-term efficiency and short-term profitability to identify the benchmark and improvement directions. The empirical results indicated that there are fifteen SLCs located in the benchmark quadrant. This study provides policy makers in the local governments with a scientific reference to keep or drop the current operating private enterprise in the next concession period. The most underperforming SLCs could follow this proposed quadrant analysis and OSTR index, utilizing their internal resources to develop more attractive and reasonable-price exercise courses for participant growth. Full article
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Article
Testing the Reliability of Financial Sustainability. The Case of Spanish Local Governments
Sustainability 2020, 12(17), 6880; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12176880 - 24 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 974
Abstract
Local Governments (LGs) have strengthened the financial control as a consequence of mandatory requirements to ensure financial sustainability in their management. The aim of this study is to determine whether financial indicators about financial conditions defined in Spanish regulation are backed by worldwide [...] Read more.
Local Governments (LGs) have strengthened the financial control as a consequence of mandatory requirements to ensure financial sustainability in their management. The aim of this study is to determine whether financial indicators about financial conditions defined in Spanish regulation are backed by worldwide generally accepted financial benchmarking indicators. For this purpose, we analyze the relationship between Spanish indicators of financial sustainability based on European Union (EU) regulations and Financial Trends Monitoring System Indicators (FTMS) of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). For this purpose, two methodologies are applied: discriminant analysis and logistic regression, where the dependent variables are each of the Spanish financial indicators and the independent variables are ICMA indicators. The evidence supports that variables that are related to the control of expenditures, debt and the revenues show a greater explanatory power of financial sustainability, being the most important elements which offer relevant information about the financial sustainability measurement of LGs. Full article
Article
The Participatory Budgeting and Its contribution to Local Management and Governance: Review of Experience of Rural Communities from the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4659; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114659 - 07 Jun 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1107
Abstract
In Ecuador, the participatory political design of the political party forming the government from 2007 to 2017, along with the constitution of 2018, created opportunities for citizen participation. Participatory budgeting (PB) is the most commonly used citizen participation mechanism. The direct participation of [...] Read more.
In Ecuador, the participatory political design of the political party forming the government from 2007 to 2017, along with the constitution of 2018, created opportunities for citizen participation. Participatory budgeting (PB) is the most commonly used citizen participation mechanism. The direct participation of citizens is reflected in improving the governance by democratizing decision processes. The contribution of PB to the local management and governance of seven rural communities of the Ecuadorian Amazon was analyzed using a case study. Based on (1) the level of compliance with municipal planning through management indicators and, the amounts allocated to PB, (2) along with the level of citizen satisfaction, complementary perspectives (acquired through a survey) on the implementation of PB are provided. These sources of evidence allowed us to critically assess the effects of PB in the improvement of local management and governance. We found low levels of municipal planning compliance, i.e., a 20% (2017) and 43% (2018), high levels of citizen dissatisfaction (around 91%) and also a “disagreement” with the PB implementation process. Finally, it is observed that the implementation of the participatory budget in rural communities presents deficiencies that limit the obtaining of representative benefits and that imply an improvement in the governance and quality of life of the citizenry. This is mainly caused by the low interest of citizens to participate in the phases of execution and monitoring of projects, due to a low culture and participatory education. Full article
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