Accounting is an Evolved Economic Institution
Gregory B. Waymire
Emory University - Department of Accounting
Temple University - Fox School of Business and Management
July 4, 2008
Foundations and Trends in Accounting, Vol. 2, No. 1-2, pp. 1-174, 2008
Emory University Law and Economics Research Paper No. 08-33
We consider accounting from an evolutionary perspective. Accounting encompasses the creation of transactional records, the summarization of records in t-accounts, and the preparation of audited financial statements. Accounting's history spans at least 10,000 years dating back to the first human settlements in ancient Mesopotamia. Our focus is on the study of accounting history in three ways: providing useful thoughts experiments valuable to researchers interested in the development of modern practices, the use of historical data to test formal hypotheses about the origins of accounting practices, and the development of theories and related empirical evidence that explain accounting based on evolution and ecological rationality. Within this third area, we describe the basis for hypotheses and empirical analyses concerning six issues: (1) the emergence of recordkeeping, (2) the effect of double-entry bookkeeping on the scale and scope of economic organization, (3) the spontaneous emergence of norms of practice in accounting, (4) the impact of law, regulation, and taxation on accounting, (5) the demand for broad principles in evaluating accounting method choices, and (6) the relation between economic crises and major discontinuities in accounting practice.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 162
Keywords: Accounting, Economic History, Economic Institutions
JEL Classification: M40, M41, M46, M49, N00, N20Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: July 7, 2008 ; Last revised: February 3, 2009
© 2013 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
This page was processed by apollo5 in 0.500 seconds