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The role of accounting in the German financial system

  • Leuz, Christian
  • Wüstemann, Jens

This chapter analyzes the role of financial accounting in the German financial system. It starts from the common perception that German accounting is rather “uninformative”. This characterization is appropriate from the perspective of an arm’s length or outside investor and when confined to the financial statements per se. But it is no longer accurate when a broader perspective is adopted. The German accounting system exhibits several arrangements that privately communicate information to insiders, notably the supervisory board. Due to these features, the key financing and contracting parties seem reasonably well informed. The same cannot be said about outside investors relying primarily on public disclosure. A descriptive analysis of the main elements of the Germany system and a survey of extant empirical accounting research generally support these arguments.

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Paper provided by Center for Financial Studies (CFS) in its series CFS Working Paper Series with number 2003/16.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:cfswop:200316
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  1. Kothari, S. P. & Sloan, Richard G., 1992. "Information in prices about future earnings : Implications for earnings response coefficients," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2-3), pages 143-171, August.
  2. McLeay, Stuart & Ordelheide, Dieter & Young, Steven, 2000. "Constituent lobbying and its impact on the development of financial reporting regulations: evidence from Germany," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 79-98, January.
  3. Ball, Ray & Kothari, S. P. & Robin, Ashok, 2000. "The effect of international institutional factors on properties of accounting earnings," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 1-51, February.
  4. Rajan, Raghuram G & Zingales, Luigi, 1998. "Financial Dependence and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 559-86, June.
  5. Eric Nowak, 2001. "Recent Developments In German Capital Markets And Corporate Governance," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 14(3), pages 35-48.
  6. Cooke, Terence E. & Wallace, R. S. Olusegun, 1990. "Financial disclosure regulation and its environment: A review and further analysis," Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 79-110.
  7. Christian Leuz, 2003. "IAS Versus U.S. GAAP: Information Asymmetry-Based Evidence from Germany's New Market," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(3), pages 445-472, 06.
  8. Reinhard H. Schmidt & Marcel Tyrell, 1997. "Financial Systems, Corporate Finance and Corporate Governance," European Financial Management, European Financial Management Association, vol. 3(3), pages 333-361.
  9. G K Meek & S J Gray, 1989. "Globalization of Stock Markets and Foreign Listing Requirements: Voluntary Disclosures by Continental European Companies Listed on the London Stock Exchange," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 20(2), pages 315-336, June.
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