Not by Will: Baxter and the Rise of Authoritative Accounting Standards

5 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2009

See all articles by Shyam Sunder

Shyam Sunder

Yale University - School of Management; Yale University - Cowles Foundation

Date Written: July 15, 2006


Scholars retain their perspective in the face of opposition, ignorance, fashion-of-the-day, even prejudice. Access to the ears of princes rarely helps either the scholarship or the authority. William T. Baxter was among the first, if not the first, to recognize and articulate the deleterious consequences of authoritative measurement standards for accounting as a profession, academic discipline, and subject of university instruction. Yet, his career coincided with the rise of such standards. Today, as we stand at the verge of global triumph of standards and authority over individual analysis and judgment in accounting measurement, doubts about the wisdom of this approach are beginning to take root. Baxter would be too gracious to have the last laugh.

Keywords: accounting standards, Baxter, uniformity, profession, practice, education, research

JEL Classification: M41, M44

Suggested Citation

Sunder, Shyam, Not by Will: Baxter and the Rise of Authoritative Accounting Standards (July 15, 2006). Available at SSRN: or

Shyam Sunder (Contact Author)

Yale University - School of Management ( email )

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Yale University - Cowles Foundation

Box 208281
New Haven, CT 06520-8281
United States

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