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Harmonisation of accounting standards improves cross-border mobility

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25 Apr 2016

New joint research from the University of Chicago and the Humboldt University of Berlin shows that the recent EU harmonisation of accounting and auditing standards had a discernible positive effect on accountants’ cross-border migration relative to other professions when compared with pre-harmonisation levels.

The analysis uses the fact that over the past decade, national accounting and auditing standards have to a large extent been replaced by international standards now common across the EU member states. This enabled the authors to study the extent to which professional standards constitute an economically significant barrier to cross-border migration and also whether harmonising standards can have a meaningful effect on cross-border mobility.

The authors find that after accounting and auditing standards were harmonised, there was a 17-24% increase in the movement of accountants relative to comparable professions, relative to pre-harmonisation mobility rate. They conclude that accounting harmonisation can have a meaningful effect on cross-border migration and thus can be used as a tool to improve the efficiency of the labour market.

A summary of the research with references to underlying papers is available free of charge through VoxEU portal of the Centre for Economic Policy Research. There is also an SSRN version of the main research paper that forms the backbone of the VoxEU article, likewise available free of charge.

The different effects of the adoption of IFRSs has been the object of extensive research. We'd especially like to point out the research of Professor Christian Leuz of the Booth School of Business of the University of Chicago (one of the authors of the article highlighted above) around the ‘Global Player Segment’ (GPS), which we reported on earlier.

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