Has the Importance of Intangibles Really Grown? And if so, Why?

International Accounting Policy Forum, Special Issue, 2008

Accounting and Business Research, Forthcoming

48 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2008

See all articles by Sudipta Basu

Sudipta Basu

Temple University - Department of Accounting

Gregory B. Waymire

Emory University - Department of Accounting


Intangibles are ideas or knowledge about the natural (physical and biological) and socio-cultural worlds that enable people to better accomplish their goals, both in primitive societies and in modern economies. Intangibles include basic research and technology improvements as well as knowledge to better organize exchange and production, and over time become inextricably embedded in improved tangible assets. Accounting intangibles are legally excludable subsets of economic intangibles, which in turn are the subsets of cultural intangibles that can be used to create tradable goods or services. Because economic intangibles are cumulative, synergistic, and frequently inseparable from other tangible assets and/or economic intangibles not owned by any single entity, it is usually futile to estimate a separate accounting value for individual intangibles. However, the income that intangibles together generate provides useful inputs for equity valuation, and voluntary non-financial disclosures could be informative for this purpose.

Keywords: Moka, gift exchange, patent, trademark, fair value

JEL Classification: D20, D45, D83, K10, L15, L51, M41, M44, M45, O30

Suggested Citation

Basu, Sudipta and Waymire, Gregory B., Has the Importance of Intangibles Really Grown? And if so, Why?. Accounting and Business Research, Forthcoming; Accounting and Business Research, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1124522

Sudipta Basu (Contact Author)

Temple University - Department of Accounting ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States
215.204.0489 (Phone)
215.204.5587 (Fax)

Gregory B. Waymire

Emory University - Department of Accounting ( email )

Goizueta Business School
1300 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States
404-727-6589 (Phone)
404-727-6313 (Fax)

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