Why do National GAAP Differ from IAS? The Role of Culture

Yuan Ding (First Author), Thomas Jeanjean (Participant Author), Hervé Stolowy (Participant Author)

科研成果: 期刊稿件期刊论文


In this paper, we investigate the role of culture as an explanatory factor underlying differences between national GAAP and International Accounting Standards (IAS). National GAAP can differ from IAS in two ways: (1) divergence: both national GAAP and IAS cover a specific accounting topic but prescribe different methods; or (2) absence: national GAAP do not cover an accounting issue regulated by IAS. Based on Nobes' [Nobes, C. (Ed.) (2001). Gaap 2001—A Survey of National Accounting Rules Benchmarked Against International Accounting Standards. IFAD.] data, we construct a measure for the level of divergence of national GAAP benchmarked on IAS. We also create a measure (labeled absence) to assess the scope of national accounting rules compared to IAS. Our sample is made up of 52 countries. We show that culture matters more than legal origin (common law/civil-law) in explaining divergences from IAS. This result is robust to two proxies for culture: Hofstede [Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture's Consequences: Comparing Values, Behaviors, Institutions and Organizations Across Nations. Second, Sage Publications (London).] and Schwartz [Schwartz, S. H. (1994). Beyond individualism/collectivism: New cultural dimensions of values. In U. Kim, H. C. Triandis, C. Kagitcibasi, S. C. Choi, & G. Yoon (Eds.), Individualism and collectivism: Theory, method and applications (85–119). Sage.]. Our findings contribute to the ongoing debate on accounting harmonization. More specifically, they suggest that the technical and/or political dimensions of the debate, although essential, are not the only ones involved. Opposition to IAS is not exclusively driven by contractual motives, a claimed technical superiority, or legal origin, but also by diversity in cultural factors. Another contribution of this paper is the development of a two-dimensional score to measure the differences between national GAAP and IAS.
期刊The International Journal of Accounting
已出版 - 2005

Corresponding author email



  • Culture
  • Hofstede
  • International accounting harmonization
  • Schwartz


探究 'Why do National GAAP Differ from IAS? The Role of Culture' 的科研主题。它们共同构成独一无二的指纹。