Market and Political/Regulatory Perspectives on the Recent Accounting Scandals
University of Chicago - Accounting
November 23, 2008
Journal of Accounting Research, Vol. 47, No. 2, pp. 277-323, May 2009
Not surprisingly, the recent accounting scandals look different when viewed from the perspectives of the political/regulatory process and of the market for corporate governance and financial reporting. We do not have the opportunity to observe a world in which either market or political/regulatory processes operate independently, and the events are recent and not well-researched, so untangling their separate effects is somewhat conjectural. This paper offers conjectures on issues such as: What caused the scandalous behavior? Why was there such a rash of accounting scandals at one time? Who killed Arthur Andersen - the SEC, or the market? Did fraudulent accounting kill Enron, or just keep it alive for too long? What is the social cost of financial reporting fraud? Does the US in fact operate a "principles-based" or a "rules-based" accounting system? Was there market failure? Or was there regulatory failure? Or both? Was the Sarbanes-Oxley Act a political and regulatory over-reaction? Does the U.S. follow an ineffective regulatory model?
Number of Pages in PDF File: 65
JEL Classification: M41, M43, M44, M49, G15, G18, G38
Date posted: September 24, 2008 ; Last revised: July 29, 2009