Causal Inference in Empirical Archival Financial Accounting Research

27 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2013

See all articles by Joachim Gassen

Joachim Gassen

Humboldt University of Berlin - School of Business and Economics; Humboldt University of Berlin - Center for Applied Statistics and Economics (CASE)

Date Written: October 19, 2013

Abstract

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

Gassen, Joachim, Causal Inference in Empirical Archival Financial Accounting Research (October 19, 2013). Accounting, Organizations and Society, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2342550

Joachim Gassen (Contact Author)

Humboldt University of Berlin - School of Business and Economics ( email )

Spandauer Str. 1
Berlin, D-10099
Germany
+49 30 2093 5764 (Phone)
+49 30 2093 5670 (Fax)

Humboldt University of Berlin - Center for Applied Statistics and Economics (CASE) ( email )

Spandauer Strasse 1
Berlin, D-10178
Germany

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