Better Financial Reporting: Meanings and Means

35 Pages Posted: 25 May 2017

See all articles by Shyam Sunder

Shyam Sunder

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

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 8, 2016


What is the meaning of better corporate financial reporting? How can financial reporting be improved? There are many claims of shortcomings of financial reporting. Conflicts among these claims point to the political elements of the problem inherent in collective choice in a society. Since “better” depends on the interest group whose perspective is chosen for analysis, politics lies at the heart of accounting policy. The set of possible means of arriving to any agreed upon meaning of “better” includes not only regulation, but also social norms and market competition. Judiciously combining all three approaches, instead of relying on any one alone, may help us improve financial reporting. This paper examines the meaning and means of better financial reporting.

Keywords: Financial Reporting, Meaning, Attributes, Goals, Means, Improvement, Regulation, Social Norms, Competition

JEL Classification: D60, G18, G38, K22, M41

Suggested Citation

Sunder, Shyam, Better Financial Reporting: Meanings and Means (March 8, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Shyam Sunder (Contact Author)

Yale University - School of Management ( email )

165 Whitney Avenue
P.O. Box 208200
New Haven, CT 06520-8200
United States
203-432-6160 (Phone)


Yale University - Cowles Foundation

Box 208281
New Haven, CT 06520-8281
United States

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