Research on the Adoption of IFRS

This post is by Edward J. Riedl of Harvard Business School.

I have recently completed two working papers that address issues related to the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

In the first paper, entitled Market Reaction to the Adoption of IFRS in Europe, my co-authors and I examine the European stock market reaction to sixteen events associated with the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) in Europe. European IFRS adoption represented a major milestone towards financial reporting convergence yet spurred controversy reaching the highest levels of government. We find a more positive stock market reaction for firms with lower quality pre-adoption information, which is more pronounced in banks, and with higher pre-adoption information asymmetry, consistent with investors expecting net information quality benefits from IFRS adoption. We also find that the reaction is less positive for firms domiciled in code law countries, consistent with investors having concerns over enforcement of IFRS in those countries. Finally, we find a positive reaction to IFRS adoption events for firms with high quality pre-adoption information, consistent with investors expecting net convergence benefits from IFRS adoption. Overall, the findings suggest that investors in European firms perceived net benefits associated with IFRS adoption. This paper is available for download here.

In the second paper, entitled Consequences of Voluntary and Mandatory Fair Value Accounting: Evidence Surrounding IFRS Adoption in the EU Real Estate Industry, my co-authors and I examine the causes and consequences of European real estate firms’ decisions to provide investment property fair values prior to the required disclosure of this information under International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). We find evidence that investor demand for fair value information—reflected in more dispersed ownership—and a firm’s commitment to transparency increase the likelihood of providing fair values prior to their required provision under International Accounting Standard 40 – Investment Property. We also find that firms not providing these fair values face higher information asymmetry. However, we fail to find that the relatively higher information asymmetry was reduced following mandatory adoption of IFRS. Rather, we find that differences in information asymmetry largely remain. Taken together, this evidence suggests that common adoption of fair value accounting due to the mandatory adoption of IFRS does not necessarily level the informational playing field. This paper is available for download here.

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