Musings on Accounting Research by Steve

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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!

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