What Drives the Comparability Effect of Mandatory IFRS Adoption?
London School of Economics
Humboldt University of Berlin - School of Business and Economics; Humboldt University of Berlin - Center for Applied Statistics and Economics (CASE)
September 23, 2012
The mandatory adoption of IFRS by many countries worldwide fuels the expectation that financial accounting information might become more comparable across countries. This expectation is opposed to an alternative view that stresses the importance of incentives in shaping accounting information. We provide evidence on this debate by investigating the effects of mandatory IFRS adoption on the comparability of financial accounting information around the world. Using two comparability proxies based on De Franco et al. , our results suggest that the overall comparability effect of mandatory IFRS adoption is marginal. We hypothesize that heterogeneity in IFRS compliance explains the limited comparability effect. To test this conjecture, we first hand-collect data on IFRS compliance for a sample of German and Italian firms and find that firm-, region-, and country-level incentives systematically shape accounting compliance. We then use the identified compliance determinants to explain the variance in the comparability effect of mandatory IFRS adoption and find it to vary systematically with firm-level compliance determinants, suggesting that only firms with high compliance incentives experience substantial increases in comparability.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 59
Keywords: international accounting, IFRS, comparability, compliance, reporting incentives
JEL Classification: M41, G14, F42working papers series
Date posted: May 14, 2009 ; Last revised: September 26, 2012
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