The Economic Trade-Offs in the Fair Value Debate
35 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2009 Last revised: 27 Mar 2010
Date Written: March 19, 2010
In this paper, I provide two general insights that are useful in evaluating the economic trade-offs of alternative accounting measurement rules. First, when there are multiple imperfections in the world, restricting a strict subset of it need not always improve welfare. Second, a firm is not a black box that operates independently of the measurement environment. Measuring a firm’s operations affects the firm’s actions which, in turn, affect the underlying distribution of cash flows that is being measured.
Using these two insights, I discuss the economic consequences of accounting measurement rules that strive for greater transparency. In particular, I focus on the costs and benefits of fair value accounting and its implications for financial stability.
Keywords: Amplification Mechanism, Fair Value Accounting, Financial Stability, Historical Cost Accounting
JEL Classification: D52, G12, G21, G22, M41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation