IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Voluntary adoption of non-local GAAP in the European Union: A study of determinants and consequences

Listed author(s):
  • Rick Cuijpers
  • Willem Buijink
Registered author(s):

    This study examines the determinants and consequences of voluntary adoption of non-local accounting principles (non-local GAAP) by firms listed and domiciled in the European Union (EU). We restrict ourselves to the two predominant internationally accepted sets of accounting standards: International Accounting Standards (IAS) and United States generally accepted accounting principles (US GAAP). We have used various sources to identify EU firms that use non-local GAAP. We examine the 1999 annual reports of all these firms, because accounting standard choices in more recent years may be affected by the announcement of the proposal by the European Commission in February 2001 to mandate IAS usage from 2005 on. The maintained hypothesis is that firms that voluntarily adopt IAS or US GAAP expect to experience net benefits from adoption. The finding that 133 non-financial firms in the EU voluntarily used non-local GAAP in 1999 suggests that the majority of listed EU firms does not expect to benefit from non-local GAAP adoption. By studying the characteristics of non-local GAAP adopters this study provides insight into the determinants of non-local GAAP adoption. We find that firms voluntarily using non-local GAAP are more likely to be listed on a US exchange, the EASDAQ exchange in Brussels, and have more geographically dispersed operations. Furthermore, they are more likely to be domiciled in a country with lower quality financial reporting and where IAS is explicitly allowed as an alternative to local GAAP. We also study whether non-local GAAP adopters have lower levels of information asymmetry, a much cited benefit of using more transparent financial reporting, than non-adopters. We examine three proxies for information asymmetry: analyst following, cost of equity capital, and uncertainty among analysts and investors (forecast dispersion and stock return volatility). We document a positive effect of non-local GAAP adoption on analyst following, but fail to find evidence of a lower cost of capital for non-local GAAP adopters. Contrary to expectations, uncertainty among analysts and investors appears to be higher for firms using IAS or US GAAP than for firms using local GAAP. However, by comparing 'early' and 'late' adopters, we find some evidence that suggests that benefits take some time to fully materialise.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal European Accounting Review.

    Volume (Year): 14 (2005)
    Issue (Month): 3 ()
    Pages: 487-524

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:taf:euract:v:14:y:2005:i:3:p:487-524
    DOI: 10.1080/0963818042000337132
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    Order Information: Web:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:euract:v:14:y:2005:i:3:p:487-524. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Chris Longhurst)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.