The political economist, Robert Wade’s (2007) characterization of the New International Financial Architecture (NIFA) as a ‘standards, surveillance and compliance’ regime succinctly emphasizes that the global promotion of international accounting standards cannot be viewed in isolation from associated mechanisms of enforcement. The formal adoption and endorsement of such global standards means little if they are either not applied in practice, or applied with significant degrees of variation. Enforcement, accordingly, is said to be critical to the stability of the global financial system (Arnold, 2012; Wade, 2007; Malsch and Gendron, 2011; European Commission, 2010). Such public policy significance, stimulated by the Asian crisis of the late 1990s and the Enron debacle in 2001 and further invigorated by the more recent global financial crisis, has been accompanied by a substantially heightened level of regulatory ‘enforcement’ activity. This has witnessed the establishment of a range of domestic and international ‘enforcement’ agencies committed to processes of external public oversight and inspection in delivering desired levels of ‘compliance with standards’ – although the global regulatory system has been criticized for its complex and cumbersome structures (Davies and Green, 2008).
Within the economics-informed research paradigm several studies have already demonstrated that active enforcement can lead to improved financial reporting and generate associated positive market reactions, although experience in the US has been the predominant empirical focal point for such work (e.g., see Palmrose, Richardson, and Scholz, 2004; Daske, Hail, Leuz, C., and Verdi., 2008, Christensen, Hail and Leuz, 2013). Sociopolitical and institutional studies have emphasized the fragmented organization of enforcement activity across economically, socially and culturally diverse regional and local levels and begun to explore developing regulatory arrangements seeking to deliver greater global consistency in compliance and enforcement processes (Malsch and Gendron, 2011; Humphrey et al., 2009; Caramanis, Dedoulis and Leventis, 2015).
This special issue seeks to promote and develop understanding of financial reporting enforcement processes, practices and experiences at international, regional and local levels, particularly those that explore the pertinence and influence of different regulatory attitudes, cultural contexts and conditions. We are also keen to attract papers analyzing connections between enforcement activity and outcomes and/or studying the developing nature of regulatory commitments to learn from, share and coordinate regulatory activity and encounters across the different levels of engagement. Finally, we would also welcome papers that contemplate the scope for alternatives, whether in terms of different enforcement methods or differing conceptualizations and assessments of the character, identity, and societal significance/consequences of enforcement regimes. Consistent with the editorial policy of Accounting and Business Research, we welcome papers across a broad range of theoretical perspectives and methods. In particular, the special issue will consider the following topics (although papers may address other relevant topics):
- The establishment and operation of Anglo-American (in origin) enforcement institutions, both locally and globally.
- Institutional factors that influence national enforcement systems and the formation of enforcement bodies.
- Institutional diversity and enforcement at a local and regional level.
- Efficiency and effectiveness of enforcement mechanisms (e.g. name and shame, comment letters), measurement of enforcement, future developments.
- Impact assessments of enforcement practices/regimes (e.g. financial reporting choices, earnings management, conservatism, audit pricing/audit lag, going concern, auditor choice).
- Corporate behaviour during and after the period under investigation by an enforcement body (e.g. accounting policies, defensive (disclosure) policies, director re-election, managerial/consulting engagement, audit committee accountability).
- Trends, patterns and pressures in enforcement behavior with particular reference to comparative studies.
- Effects of corporate reporting enforcement regimes on corporate identities/personalities and stakeholder engagement.
- The conceptual underpinnings of enforcement and the scope for alternative constructions regarding its practice, assumed systemic significance and connections to societal well-being.
Submission deadline: 31st May 2016.
Manuscripts should be submitted online at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/abr. Author guidelines can be found here. All papers will be reviewed in accordance with ABR’s normal processes. It is anticipated that this special issue will be published in mid-2017.
Please note that the guest editors welcome informal enquiries from authors.