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Enforcement of Accounting Standards in Europe: Capital-Market-Based Evidence for the Two-Tier Mechanism in Germany


  • Jörg-Markus Hitz
  • Jürgen Ernstberger
  • Michael Stich


On the background of regulatory initiatives that mandate the establishment of comparable enforcement systems in EU jurisdictions to ascertain consistent and faithful application of IFRS, this paper provides capital-market-based evidence on investor reactions for one specific institutional set-up: the two-tier enforcement system in Germany. In operation since 2005, the German enforcement mechanism consists of a private body, the DPR, which investigates compliance of published financial reports of firms listed on a regulated market segment and, upon error findings, involves the German securities regulator BaFin, which on a second level enforces disclosure of these findings to establish adverse disclosure ('name and shame'). For a sample of error findings published in the period 2005-2009, we investigate short- and long-term market reactions to error announcements. Results for abnormal returns, abnormal trading volumes and abnormal bid-ask spreads indicate that these announcements represent new, negative information and suggest that, despite an enforcement environment that is categorised as weak in the extant literature, the activities of the DPR/BaFin seem to penalise infringing firms and thus provide potential deterrence. Multivariate analyses yield weak evidence that the magnitude of the market value discount is positively associated with the severity of the errors, with the threat of subsequent litigation and with cases in which firms disagreed with the error findings of the DPR.

Suggested Citation

  • Jörg-Markus Hitz & Jürgen Ernstberger & Michael Stich, 2012. "Enforcement of Accounting Standards in Europe: Capital-Market-Based Evidence for the Two-Tier Mechanism in Germany," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(2), pages 253-281, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:euract:v:21:y:2012:i:2:p:253-281
    DOI: 10.1080/09638180.2011.641727

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    Cited by:

    1. Silvia Gardini & F. Marta L. Di Lascio & Franco Visani, 2017. "How cultural and contextual variables affect the disclosure and transparency of pro-forma indicators," BEMPS - Bozen Economics & Management Paper Series BEMPS41, Faculty of Economics and Management at the Free University of Bozen.
    2. Christensen, Hans B. & Hail, Luzi & Leuz, Christian, 2013. "Mandatory IFRS reporting and changes in enforcement," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 147-177.
    3. Silvia Gardini & F. Marta L. Di Lascio & Franco Visani, 2017. "Opportunism in disclosing pro-forma indicators: rationale and contextual drivers," BEMPS - Bozen Economics & Management Paper Series BEMPS42, Faculty of Economics and Management at the Free University of Bozen.

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