Article | Journal of Accounting & Economics | February 2013

Towards an Understanding of the Role of Standard Setters in Standard Setting

by Abigail M. Allen and Karthik Ramanna


We investigate the effect of standard setters in standard setting: we examine how certain professional and political characteristics of FASB members and SEC commissioners predict the accounting "reliability" and "relevance" of proposed standards. Notably, we find FASB members with backgrounds in financial services are more likely to propose standards that decrease "reliability" and increase "relevance," partly due to their tendency to propose fair-value methods. We find opposite results for FASB members affiliated with the Democratic Party, although only when excluding a financial-services background as an independent variable. Jackknife procedures show that results are robust to omitting any individual standard setter.

Keywords: accounting; FASB; politics; relevance; reliability; standard setting; Accounting; Standards; Fair Value Accounting; Government and Politics; Personal Characteristics;


Allen, Abigail M., and Karthik Ramanna. "Towards an Understanding of the Role of Standard Setters in Standard Setting." Journal of Accounting & Economics 55, no. 1 (February 2013): 66–90. (Journal of Accounting & Economics Editors' Choice Article.)