Causal Inference in Empirical Archival Financial Accounting Research
27 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2013
Date Written: October 19, 2013
This study discusses the challenges and opportunities of establishing causal inference in empirical archival financial accounting research. Causal inference requires identification of a theoretically predicted causal mechanism in a research setting optimized to avoid endogenous causes and using a suitable statistical inference strategy. After briefly describing potential research design strategies, I analyze the frequency of causal studies published in leading business and economics journals. I identify causal studies by their abstract including an explicit reference to their causal nature and find that they are significantly more common in the areas of economics and finance compared to other business-oriented research disciplines like accounting. Also, the extent to which research designs are optimized for causal inference differs significantly between causal empirical archival studies in the area of financial accounting and finance. I discuss potential reasons for this gap and make some suggestions on how the demand for and supply of well-designed causal studies in the area of empirical archival financial accounting research might be increased.
Keywords: causal inference, financial accounting, archival empirical research, research design, natural experiments
JEL Classification: M41, C18
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation