Musings on Accounting Research by Steve

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Professor Nic Dopuch has “left the building”

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One of the pioneers of positivist accounting research (not positive accounting research) has passed away in early February. Dr. Dopuch was a pioneer accounting researcher who was loved (and hated) for moving accounting research out of its armchair phase and into the evidence collection and evaluation phase.  See his obit on the AAA page.

It is tough for one in the Radical Centre to evaluate his influence.  He opened the doors to being an evidence based professoriate and in his early days he let “one thousand flowers bloom” in is editorship of Journal of Accounting Research. After all Anthony Hopwood, Joel Dempski, Gerry Feltham, Ray Ball, Philip Brown among many others made their early marks under his editorship.

However, later in his career he became increasingly focused on boundary protecting and declaring methods and methodologies as not being within the pale of accounting research in North America.  The one area that I can highlight readily is the insidious effects of Gondes and Dopuch (1974) that for the most part ended, for almost 25 years, any serious examination of financial accounting from other than a markets perspective.

At the same time he was a revolutionary coming to his PhD in the last days of normative accounting research, fathering many new streams of research including capital markets, experimental economics, behavioral auditing, tax among many others.  He promoted women academics on a scale that was unknown to most in his generation.  His mentoring was legendary. As an individual he was a courteous gentleman of the old school of the likes we will likely see no more.

Rest in peace Nic.


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