The theme of sustainability is at the center of a heated scientific and political debate. This is a particularly articulated and complex subject, starting from the typical dimensions that distinguish it (environmental, economic and social) and the interlocutors involved in its realization. Among these, the presence of local authorities is undoubtedly as envisaged in the Local Agenda 21. This article aims to understand whether there is a relationship between the social expenses incurred by local authorities and the social issues found in the population, taking into consideration the social dimension of sustainability. To this purpose, two rankings have been created for the Italian provincial capitals (n. 116): one related to the social expenses sustained by each entity and recorded in the annual financial reports; the other, concerning the indicators of the social issues elaborated by the Italian Statistic Institute (ISTAT) and synthesized with different approaches. The relationship between the values of the two rankings was measured through Spearman’s correlation coefficient by processing data with SPSS software. The results of the analysis show that the financial policies implemented by individual municipalities are "indifferent" to the real social needs, or even move in the reverse direction to these needs, highlighting the failure to implement a social sustainability approach.
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