Journal Article

Evolution of research on international accounting harmonization: a historical and institutional perspective

C. Richard Baker and Elena M. Barbu

in Socio-Economic Review

Published on behalf of Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics

Volume 5, issue 4, pages 603-632
Published in print October 2007 | ISSN: 1475-1461
Published online October 2007 | e-ISSN: 1475-147X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ser/mwm014
Evolution of research on international accounting harmonization: a historical and institutional perspective

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Accounting is acknowledged to be a complex form of socio-economic activity whose historical evolution is co-extensive with that of human civilization. Indeed, it is argued that the rise of capitalism and the current hegemony of global capital would not have been possible without the existence of an institutionalized set of organized accounting practices. As processes of globalization have become increasingly evident, there have also been calls for international accounting harmonization (IAH) of accounting practices. At the same time, there have been impediments in the path towards achieving IAH, not the least of which have been cultural and economic differences among countries. As of 1 January 2005, the path towards IAH entered a new and perhaps decisive phase. From that date, all companies domiciled in the European Union with publicly traded securities must prepare their consolidated accounts in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards. This event presents an opportunity for socio-economic researchers to assess the status of IAH research. In this review article, we summarize research published in major English language accounting research journals during the period from 1965 to 2004 in order to trace trends in IAH research and to assess where the research may evolve from here. We conclude that the evolution of IAH research reflects the overall trend towards institutional isomorphism that is present in the IAH process itself. Implications for future IAH research are discussed.

Keywords: financial institutions; corporate finance; internationalization; international accounting research; financial accounting standards; international accounting harmonization; M4 accounting and auditing; N2 financial markets and institutions

Journal Article.  10706 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Moral Philosophy ; Corporate Social Responsibility ; Welfare Economics ; Political Economy ; Economic Sociology

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