An Analysis of the Incremental Information Gain in Combining Economic, Socio-Political, and Joint-Decision Characterizations in a Study of Accounting Choice: the Case of SFAS 106
Description: Typical accounting studies attempting to explain accounting method choice employ positive theoretical hypotheses and test for association between adoption method or adoption timing and economic measures that focus upon specific firm stakeholders. Such studies addressing the adoption and impact of SFAS 87, "Employer's Accounting for Pensions," yield mixed and contradicting results. Various researchers have suggested that traditional economic analysis often fails to capture important explanatory variables and is far too simplistic. The purpose of this study is to expand analysis by evaluating a particular accounting choice by means of three different characterizations. SFAS 106, "Employers' Accounting for Postretirement Benefits Other than Pensions," allows management to choose between two very different methods of adopting the standard. The principal question explored in this study is: why did managers of firms that employ defined benefit postretirement plans for benefits other than pensions choose to adopt SFAS 106 using a particular method? The research question is explored by means of three different characterizations: 1) a traditional economic characterization; 2) a sociopolitical characterization); and 3) a joint decision characterization. Logit methodology is used with method of SFAS 106 adoption as the binary dependent variable of interest. Results indicate that all three characterizations are important in understanding the SFAS 106 adoption method choice. Further, each characterization adds separate information toward comprehension of the choice, supporting the notion of the complexity of accounting choice issues.
Date: August 1996
Creator: Baker, Pamela Smith (Pamela Smith Elaine)