Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




The purpose of this study is to critically examine the current state of the adequacy of reporting and extent of disclosure practices in the published annual reports of a sample of U.S. cities. The term "extent of disclosure" denotes the extent to which selected items of information are presented in municipal annual reports. To facilitate the annual report examination, a questionnaire (consisting of ninety information items) was constructed and mailed to a random sample of 996 security dealers. The responses to the questionnaire resulted in a mean score for each item that was used to recognize differences in information importance. These mean disclosure scores were used to evaluate each of the annual reports in the sample. The sample consisted of two matched subsamples, each composed of forty-five city annual reports. One subsample was composed of cities that issued annual reports that were audited by independent Certified Public Accountants (CPAs); while the other included annual reports that were not audited. The examination of the annual reports resulted in a score for each report. This score was termed the relative disclosure score which had a range of zero to one hundred percent. The subsample of "audited" reports had a mean relative disclosure score of 49.8%, while the "not audited" subsample had a mean score of 17.1%. The low scores were supportive of the first major conclusion of the study that a disclosure deficiency existed in the sample of audited and not audited city annual reports. The next phase of the analysis was to examine the association between city size and audit status and the annual report disclosure scores. The Wilcoxon matched-pairs, signed ranks test revealed that audited city annual reports in the sample exhibited a much greater degree of disclosure that that found in reports that were not audited. Kendall's rank correlation test was performed and the results supported the conclusion that city size had a slight positive influence on the disclosure scores of cities in the sample, but that the relationship was relatively stronger for the audited subsample than for the subsample of not audited reports.