Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Carolyn S. Norman

Second Advisor

Jean X. Zhang

Third Advisor

Kevin T. Rich

Fourth Advisor

David W. Harless


My dissertation consists of three studies. My first study builds a literature review of state and local general-purpose government financial reporting research (including bond and financial condition research) after Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Statement No. 34’s issuance in 1999. The research referenced shows that reporting information after GASB 34 has, and will, continue to shape governmental financial reporting studies.

My second study examines both the rearrangement of governmental fund balance amounts after GASB Statement No. 54 and the factors associated with updated fund balance categories. My pooled ordinary least squares (OLS) regressions show that pre-standard “unreserved” fund balances had greater variance in allocation to GASB fund balance categories than “reserved” fund balances. In my determinants analysis, general service charges and wealth are positively, while prior deficits, population, and unemployment are negatively, related to GASB 54 governmental fund balance categories that have higher spending flexibility. The findings suggest reporting consistency improvements with GASB 54 requirements.

My third study examines how GASB 54 flexible governmental fund balance types are associated with future bond-specific outcomes and future revenue/expenditure compositions. Estimating pooled OLS regressions, the results demonstrate that future bond interest costs decrease and bond ratings increase as the amounts of “unrestricted” or “unassigned” balances increase. Flexible fund balance changes are also positively related to future operating expenditure changes, while negatively related to future property tax, service charge, and specific intergovernmental revenue changes. These results indicate that flexible fund balance information signals financial health, affecting both external and internal decision-making.


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