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Accounting Standards and Global Convergence Revisited: Social Norms and Economic Concepts


  • Shizuki Saito

    (The Faculty of Economics, Meiji Gakuin University, Japan)


The leitmotifs underlying accounting standards setting have undergone changes over time, from best practices to a normative approach and then to global convergence. In the process, accounting standards have gradually lost their character as a set of informal social norms based on market practices. This trend, combined with the pursuit of a formal framework not amenable to adjustment through feedback from market tests, has unavoidably brought about a top-down approach. Under this approach, the uniformity of standards from the viewpoint of regulators has been given priority over the usefulness of income information for users of financial statements. Consequently income information, which plays an essential role in the valuation of companies in capital markets, has been aff ected by a mechanical application of the asset-liability approach and fair value measurement with scant attention to a marked diff erence in business transactions. Because investors today almost disregard national borders, the homogenization of accounting information is certainly an important goal. To achieve this goal, however, it is necessary to facilitate the spontaneous homogenization of norms based on an evolutionary market process which enables standards setters to incorporate vox populi into accounting standards themselves rather than decide on the direction and degree of convergence on an a priori basis.

Suggested Citation

  • Shizuki Saito, 2011. "Accounting Standards and Global Convergence Revisited: Social Norms and Economic Concepts," The Japanese Accounting Review, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University, vol. 1, pages 105-117, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kob:tjrevi:dec2011:v:1:p:105-117

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Posner, Richard A, 1997. "Social Norms and the Law: An Economic Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 365-369, May.
    2. Sunder, Shyam, 2002. "Regulatory competition among accounting standards within and across international boundaries," Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 219-234.
    3. Shyam Sunder, 2005. "Social Norms versus Standards of Accounting," Yale School of Management Working Papers amz2525, Yale School of Management, revised 01 Sep 2005.
    4. Shyam NMI Sunder & Ronald A. Dye, 2001. "Why Not Allow the FASB and IASB Standards to Compete in the U.S.?," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm192, Yale School of Management.
    5. Michael Bromwich & Richard Macve & Shyam Sunder, 2010. "Hicksian Income in the Conceptual Framework," Abacus, Accounting Foundation, University of Sydney, vol. 46(3), pages 348-376.
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    More about this item


    Accounting Standards; Convergence; Social Norms; Income Concepts; Asset-Liability Approach; Fair Value Measurement;

    JEL classification:

    • M40 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - General
    • M48 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Government Policy and Regulation


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