No. 111: Real Effects Arguments in Accounting Standard Setting: Evidence from IFRS 16

Year: 2022
Type: Working Paper


This paper studies real effects arguments – claims that accounting standards causally affect preparers’ actions in the real economy – in the context of IFRS standard setting. To identify such real effects arguments, we apply semi-automated content analysis to the 426 due process documents and the 1,727 comment letters related to the IASB’s lease accounting project. Specifically, we document the real effects arguments that emerge during this process, and study when and where they originate, as well as how they diffuse through the IASB’s standard-setting process. We find that both comment letter and due process documents focus on financing real effects arguments. Yet, comment letters feature also concerns about market-wide implications. We further show that real effects arguments tend to arise via constituents’ comment letters rather than at the Board and staff’s initiative. They are brought into Board discussions only selectively via staff papers, and feature less prominently in Board deliberations, consistent with staff acting as a ‘filter’. Our study provides important insights for the upcoming Post-implementation Review, highlighting which effects analyses can fruitfully be conducted to address concerns raised by constituents.

Participating Institutions

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, Goethe University Frankfurt, University of Cologne and Leibniz University Hannover who share the same research agenda.

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