Social Sciences, Business and Administrative Sciences; sustainability; transparency; local governments; administrative cultures; e-government
Nowadays, the transparency of governments with respect to the sustainability of public services is a very interesting issue for stakeholders and academics. It has led to previous research and international organisations (EU, IMF, OECD, United Nations, IFAC, G-20, World Bank) to recommend promotion of the online dissemination of economic, social and environmental information. Based on previous studies about e-government and the influence of administrative cultures on governmental accountability, this paper seeks to identify political actions useful to improve the practices of transparency on economic, social and environmental sustainability in European local governments. We perform a comparative analysis of sustainability information published on the websites of 72 local governments in 10 European countries grouped into main three cultural contexts (Anglo-Saxon, Southern European and Nordic). Using international sustainability reporting guidelines, our results reveal significant differences in local government transparency in each context. The most transparent local governments are the Anglo-Saxon ones, followed by Southern European and Nordic governments. Based on individualized empirical results for each administrative style, our conclusions propose useful policy interventions to enhance sustainability transparency within each cultural tradition, such as development of legal rules on transparency and sustainability, tools to motivate local managers for online diffusion of sustainability information and analysis of information needs of stakeholders.