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Public choice and accounting standard setting in New Zealand: An exploratory study

Rahman, A.R., Ng, L.W. and Tower, G.D. (1994) Public choice and accounting standard setting in New Zealand: An exploratory study. Abacus, 30 (1). pp. 98-117.

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Recent studies in accounting regulation have used either the capture argument or the pluralistic notion to describe the enactment of accounting regulations. This paper explores the nature of the impact of public choice in accounting standard setting in New Zealand using the pluralistic notion. To provide an insight into the standard‐setting process, this paper involves an examination of the establishment, withdrawal and re‐establishment of New Zealand's most controversial standard after current cost accounting — the standard on investment property accounting (SSAP 17). The investigation considers the nature of public choice in the agenda entrance, demand and supply factors influencing standard setting in New Zealand. The results indicate that the New Zealand accounting standard‐setting process is pluralistic in a limited way. Like most other English‐speaking countries, the scope of participation for certain groups has been institutionalized on the supply side by way of membership of standard‐setting committees of the New Zealand Society of Accountants. On the demand side, however, consumers of accounting have been provided with only limited scope for participating in the formal process of standard setting. Nevertheless, other means (i.e., exogenous and informal ones) may be used to influence the process. Overall, from both the demand and supply perspectives of regulation, the Big‐8 accounting firms (as they were previously known) followed by the preparers of financial statements, seem to have greater participatory capacity in the New Zealand standard‐setting process.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: University of Sydney
Copyright: © 1994, Wiley Blackwell.
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