Emergency response among rules and reality. Extraordinary accounting in Emilia-Romagna earthquake

Relazione al workshop dell’EGPA (European Group for Public Administration) Spring workshop 2016 su “Innovations in public sector accounting standards: are EPSAS the best way to European harmonization?“, Modena 5-6 maggio 2016

Anna Francesca Pattaro* and Marco Ranuzzini**
Dipartimento di Economia Marco Biagi, Progetto Energie Sisma Emilia
*Comitato scientifico del gruppo di ricerca PUMA (Gruppo di ricerca sul Public Management, UniMore)
** Capp – Centro di Analisi delle politiche Pubbliche


Natural disasters can affect entire populations and socio-economic systems without proper anticipations or only with few hints. This paper aims to contribute to the literature on the connection between disasters, emergency response and accounting and to shed light to the role of the practices of accounting in emergency response from natural disasters. In particular we focus our attention on the earthquake which took place in Emilia-Romagna region, northern Italy, from 20th of May to middle July 2012 and on the process of emergency response and subsequent reconstruction. In this scenario, local governments have been key actors in first disaster relief. Therefore we aim to understand how accounting practices, including classificatory schemes, together with the practices related to exceptional government have been used for emergency response to Emilia-Romagna earthquake in 2012. We are also interested in the effects on inter-institutional relationships among the institutions involved. The preliminary results of our analysis show that the application of rules connected to recovery from natural disasters can be complicated by the effective problems, issues and needs expressed by citizens and local stakeholders, therefore some forms of innovation and re-organization can emerge.