Exploring past, present and future trends in public sector auditing research: a literature review

Giorgia Mattei, Giuseppe Grossi, James Guthrie A.M.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)
208 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose – Public sector auditing research has changed rapidly over the past four decades. This paper aims to reveal how the field has developed and identify avenues for future research. Design/methodology/approach – The authors used a structured literature review following Massaroet al. The sample comprises papers on public sector auditing published in accounting and public sector management journals between 1991 and 2020. Findings – The present analysis highlights that academic research interest in public sector auditing has grown and become more diverse. The authors argue this may reflect a transformation of the public sector in recent decades, owing to the developing institutional logics of public sector reforms, from traditional public administration to new public management and now new public governance. Originality value – This paper offers a comprehensive review of the public sector auditing literature, discussing different perspectives over time. It also outlines the various public sector reforms introduced over the period of the study. In reviewing the existing literature, the authors highlight the themes for future research and policy settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-134
Number of pages41
JournalMeditari Accountancy Research
Issue number7
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Business Administration (50202)


  • Comprehensive audit
  • Financial and compliance audit
  • Literature review
  • New public governance
  • New public management
  • Performance audit
  • Traditional public administration


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