Musings on Accounting Research by Steve

Home » Current thoughts » It should not be this hard . . . . .

It should not be this hard . . . . .


One of my frequent correspondents pointed out to me the strange case of the incredibly unchanging tables with the description of the variables changing greatly!  While it is not a journal I am overly familiar with, Econ Journal Watch, published a commentary by Alex Young on Bird and Karolyi’s 2017 Accounting Review piece documenting how the specification as described in the text had changed from the 2015 working paper but the tables were identical (to coefficients three decimal places).

There are two serious issues here (1) why did it take the Accounting Review Senior Editor over six months to reply to Young’s initial questions – indeed it appears that Professor Barth only replied in light of the fact that Econ Journal Watch was publishing the Young commentary. (2) why did Bird and Karolyi NOT respect the academic process and reply substantively to Young’s questions?  Do we have a culture of ignoring requests for clarification of our work?  Their non-response comment in Econ Journal Watch is exactly a reflection of an extremely poor culture that is open to debate!

Then there is the really substantive question – did the Accounting Review review process, blow it again?  At the heart of the issue is not the table presentation, but the implication that Young claims to have documented, that further testing does not support the interpretation given the results.  More than anything this latter point is at the heart of the problem – if egregious conclusions were drawn in the original study how can we claim to have a self-correcting literature if no one engages in this discussion – just to get the facts on the table, let alone figure out what the facts mean????

Clearly, “he haunts us still”. . . . . . .

JH I mean.


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