In this paper, we study the role of the SEC’s Chairs in the possible adoption of IFRS in the United States between 2005 and 2017. We mobilize the theoretical framework of institutional entrepreneurship to analyze the multidimensional institutional process which involves the streams of problem recognition, policy development and politics. Our qualitative empirical study finds that the SEC Chairs attempted to couple the three streams to different extents to achieve policy breakthroughs on IFRS adoption. We show how the coupling endeavors of Chair Cox opened a temporal window of opportunity for IFRS adoption, while Chairs Schapiro and White were unsuccessful in coupling the streams due to limited recognition of IFRS adoption as a central problem for the SEC, the inability to develop a practicable policy solution and unfavorable conditions in the policy stream. Our paper offers insights into the reasons for the SEC’s substantial efforts to introduce IFRS to U.S. capital markets and why these efforts never resulted in a formal decision on adopting IFRS for U.S. issuers. Our findings contribute to literatures on IFRS adoption, the temporal dimension of institutional entrepreneurship and the U.S. debate on IFRS.
TRR 266‘s main locations are Paderborn University (Coordinating University), HU Berlin, and University of Mannheim. All three locations have been centers for accounting and tax research for many years. They are joined by researchers from LMU Munich, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, ESMT Berlin and Goethe University Frankfurt who share the same research agenda.