The Value of Corporate Accounting Reports: Arguments for a Political Economy of Accounting

Posted: 26 May 2013 Last revised: 27 Jun 2013

See all articles by David J. Cooper

David J. Cooper

University of Alberta - Department of Accounting, Operations & Information Systems

Michael J. Sherer

University of Manchester

Date Written: May 1, 1983

Abstract

Existing research on the choice of accounting methods for corporate reports emphasizes private interests. In particular, shareholders' interests predominate in studies of the effects of accounting information on individual users. Attempts at assessing the social value of accounting reports, using the approach of marginal economics to information or the analysis of economic consequences also exhibit, in their execution, a pronounced shareholder orientation. This paper suggests that an alternative approach, the Political Economy of Accounting, may be fruitful. This approach seeks to understand and evaluate the functions of accounting within the context of the economic, social and political environment in which it operates. Research within this framework is identified as having normative, descriptive and critical qualities, and the paper concludes with some illustrations of potential research areas.

Suggested Citation

Cooper, David J. and Sherer, Michael J., The Value of Corporate Accounting Reports: Arguments for a Political Economy of Accounting (May 1, 1983). Accounting, Organizations and Society, Vol. 9, No. 3-4, 1984, University of Alberta School of Business Research Paper No. 2013-117, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2269177

David J. Cooper (Contact Author)

University of Alberta - Department of Accounting, Operations & Information Systems ( email )

Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2R6
Canada

Michael J. Sherer

University of Manchester

Oxford Road
Manchester, N/A M13 9PL
United Kingdom

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