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The role of accounting in the German financial system

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  • Leuz, Christian
  • Wüstemann, Jens

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Leuz, Christian & Wüstemann, Jens, 2003. "The role of accounting in the German financial system," CFS Working Paper Series 2003/16, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:cfswop:200316
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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. Rajan, Raghuram G & Zingales, Luigi, 1998. "Financial Dependence and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 559-586, June.
    3. 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;Academy of International Business, vol. 20(2), pages 315-336, June.
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    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. 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, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:dau:papers:123456789/3507 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:dau:papers:123456789/2814 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Christian Gross, 2016. "The Effect of the German Accounting Law Modernization Act on the Comparability of Private Local GAAP and IFRS Firms," Schmalenbach Business Review, Springer;Schmalenbach-Gesellschaft, vol. 17(3), pages 423-460, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Accounting; Disclosure; Germany; Standards; Survey;

    JEL classification:

    • M41 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Accounting
    • G3 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • K0 - Law and Economics - - General

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