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Competition among pressure groups for political influence over the determination of accounting standards

Research output: Working paper

Published
Publication date1998
Place of PublicationLancaster University
PublisherThe Department of Accounting and Finance
Original languageEnglish

Publication series

NameAccounting and Finance Working Paper Series

Abstract

This paper integrates prior studies of accounting policy choice and lobbying activities by testing the empirical implications of Becker''s (1983) theory of competition among pressure groups for political influence over the determination of accounting standards. The theory is applied to explain the nature and outcome of conflict among pressure groups representing financial intermediaries (suppliers) and pension fund members (users) over the development of conflicting Australian pension accounting rules in 1991-92. Various pension fund financial characteristics and management incentives (including discretionary accounting policy choice and voluntary financial disclosures in pension plan financial reports) are posited to affect the pressure functions of each group. These functions combine to affect a political influence function that determines the rule development process. Consistent with the predicted relationships, it is found that supplier groups exert the most political pressure and secure political influence over the development of rules affecting defined benefit pension plans, whereas no group influences the development of rules affecting defined contribution pension plans.