Musings on Accounting Research by Steve
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If AAA, CAAA, EAA, AFAANZ, et al replicates AEA survey on discrimination what would results be???

Today as I prepared to teach a governance class on executive compensation, I came across a Canadian think tank study on the Double Glass Ceiling. The double glass refers to the fight women have in breaking into top executive and board ranks and then in executive ranks getting equal pay for equal work!

At the same time I read in the Globe & Mail, the closest thing Canada has to the NY Times or Times of London, about the results of the American Economic Association survey on discrimination nation among current and former AEA members – predominately academic economists. The response rate was huge 25 % of current members responded. What they reported was a hugely misogynistic culture that devalued contributions of women and racial minority economists.

As I think about the difficulty I run into convincing many tenured Associate Professors that are female to go up for promotion to full prof, I wonder if the set of experiences they encountered might be similar to those in the AEA. Maybe the various accounting associations should find out!

Field experiments as behavioural reseach

For a long time now economists have been running off to India and similar venues to run economics experiments with real people using real incentives for real work!  Those working in the nudging paridigm have similarly done field experiments here in Norh America.  Often all it requires is an interested government ministry and they are in business.

Management accounting has seen a few field experiments as well, with my good friend Alan Webb being at the forefront of that movement!  Even rarer but happening are field experiments in tax compliance –  often done by economists or nudgers!

Recently came across an audit experiment where partner lead interventions were run on real audit teams working on real clients!  Dennis and Johnstone 2018 in AOS did just that. While it looks like the review process gave it a long ride before finding a home in AOS, after all the paper won a best of award in 2015, this sort of research is the innovative kind of thing that experimental behavioural researchers need to do.  And it once again shows the inability of top tier US journals to accept innovative work that is not “perfect” in its experimental design.  Thank goodness for CAR and AOS that are willing to take greater chances with innovative papers.  The behavioural accounting world, and accounting research in general would be worse off without them!

Preacher and Haynes macro – a small sample approach to SEM without SEM’s rigor?

It seems you cannot look at a behavioural accounting paper these days without a mediation or moderation model in it. Last summer I noted this was a concern of the Libby panel at the AAA Annual meeting Session 6.01 on testing process theories.

And if you see such a model being tested 8 or 9 times out of ten it will be based on the Preacher and Haynes PROCESS macro that is available for SPSS and SAS. After reading enough reviews of papers using this approach, the best I can tell is that this is a poor sample size SEM at work! Indeed I recently came across a paper by Haynes and a co-authors (Montoya and Rockwood in the Australasian Marketing Journal 2017) that basically said that! see

Indeed as I read it I am not certain that the use of the bootstrapping option in most SEM packages would not do the same thing! So go ahead and use PROCESS macro when you are using a process model with only observed variables! but do not make claims about it that are not warranted! There is no superiority over SEM applications that I can see despite the mistaken claims of some – some that do NOT include Preacher or Haynes!

Are manipulation checks history in experiments research?

In the underlying psychology literature there is some controversy about whether manipulation checks are needed. Mind you from reading that literature it appears that some psychology researchers were not too careful about where they placed the questions that may have had the effect of priming responses that they wanted to get to their manipulations.

What are the alternatives to manipulation checks? One thing for certain is that recall checks of case facts, even manipulations, do not prove manipulations are effective. Ah, but is not remembering a manipulation a necessary condition for it to effective? No, unconscious processing of manipulation is all that is needed in many if not all experiments. After all most experiments are not done with the goal of altering long term memory!

What is important is that we have proof that participants give the same interpretation to the manipulations as the experimenters think they are. So if you do not establish that as part of your instrument with a well placed mc, then you must do pilot tests, verbal protocols, expert panels, or some other means to convince the reader that you and participants see the world in the same way as far as the experiment goes.

So are MC’s history? Not if we want to do valid experiments! In many ways for auditors it is like doing alternative procedure if the normal audit test cannot be done. Most of the time their are workarounds, but almost always involving more work than the original approach. That’s how I see the lack of manipulation checks. The slightly shorter experiment versus the extra work to prove that operationalization was effective.

A salute to . . .

Today is International Women’s Day and as always like I to salute the women who have lead the way in accounting academia.

There is no reason, especially in the USA with their finance envy, that the accounting professoriate could not have ended up as male dominated as the finance professoriate.

One of the big reasons for that is a personal hero of mine, Katherine Schipper. When she became co-editor of JAR in the early ’80’s she was a visible symbol and an effective force for the argument women could make it in a then male dominated profession. When Dr. Schipper became JAR co-editor, even in a progressive country like Canada, it was rare to find a women tenured professor in accounting. Indeed, my current university did not hire its first female accounting faculty member until that time!

While not every social and behavioural researcher holds Dr. Schipper in the high regard that I do (mostly due to myths that do not stand up to close scrutiny), as a accounting group we can celebrate the relative diversity of accounting academics over finance in the business school world due to women like Dr. Schipper who just got on with doing the job!

And that’s how I see it!

It’s been 22 years but JAR has finally. . .

Our somewhat less than friendly senior sibling has finally broken down after a 22 year hiatus from publishing qualitative methods research. Yes, the survey researchers at JAR have slowly been incorporating more and more qualitative data into their papers but 1997 was the last time a pure qualitative paper was publishing shed in JAR ( Miller and O’Leary on new manufacturing controls in a heavy equipment).

Before saying what paper it is and who the authors are, I have to admit a conflict of interest; after all I was her dissertation chair!

The volume and quality is up!

Been a busy 2 months at BRIA! If this was last year in terms of submissions I would now be out of Canadian winter and well into Spring! But we are happy! BRIA as a journal will likely expand to a third issue a year during my editorial term! Something that behavioural research has needed – a high quality outlet that focuses on not only original research but on the issues that make us special, methods, methodology, the domains of psychology and sociology as well as providing a badly needed outlet for replication research that will count at many research schools!

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