Working Paper | HBS Working Paper Series | 2012

The International Politics of IFRS Harmonization

by Karthik Ramanna


The globalization of accounting standards as seen through the proliferation of IFRS worldwide is one of the most important developments in corporate governance over the last decade. I offer an analysis of some international political dynamics of countries' IFRS harmonization decisions. The analysis is based on field studies in three jurisdictions: Canada, China, and India. Across these jurisdictions, I first describe unique elements of domestic political economies that are shaping IFRS policies. Then, I inductively isolate two principal dimensions that can be used to characterize the jurisdictions' IFRS responses: proximity to existing political powers at the IASB; and own potential political power at the IASB. Based on how countries are classified along these dimensions, I offer predictions, ceteris paribus, on countries' IFRS harmonization strategies. The analysis and framework in this paper can help broaden the understanding of accounting's globalization.

Keywords: accounting standards; globalization; IASB; IFRS; politics; Financial Reporting; International Accounting; Global Strategy; Corporate Governance; Policy; Government and Politics; Standards; China; India; Canada;


Ramanna, Karthik. "The International Politics of IFRS Harmonization." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 11-132, June 2011. (Revised August 2011, March 2012, August 2012, October 2012. Forthcoming in Accounting, Economics & Law.)