Accounting standards promulgated by the US Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) play an important role in the development and maintenance of capital markets worldwide, so it is important to understand how these standards come to be.
We investigate the idiosyncratic influence of standard setters in standard setting. In particular, we examine how FASB members' length of tenure on the board, their past professional experience, and their political contributions vary with the degree to which the accounting standards they propose are perceived as increasing accounting "relevance" and/or decreasing accounting "reliability".
Among other results, we find that length of tenure on the board and a prior career in investment banking/investment management are associated with proposing standards perceived as decreasing accounting "reliability"; while contributions to the Democratic Party are associated with proposing standards perceived as increasing accounting "reliability."
Broadly, the evidence, by highlighting the influence of standard setters, can broaden our understanding of the political economy of standard setting beyond the role of corporate lobbying.
The evidence in this study can be used toward building a more comprehensive theory of accounting standard setting, which can be helpful in informing future efforts at designing standard setting institutions, including considerations on term limits and prior work experience.
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Former Jt Secy Ministry of Finance