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Empirical Research in Financial Accounting

  • Enseignant(s):  
  • Titre en français: Recherche empirique en comptabilité financière
  • Cours donné en: anglais
  • Crédits ECTS:
  • Horaire: Semestre d'automne 2019-2020, 0.0h. de cours (moyenne hebdomadaire)
  •  séances
  • Formation concernée: Maîtrise universitaire ès Sciences en comptabilité, contrôle et finance



This course provides an introduction to empirical research in financial accounting and capital market. It aims to provide students with conceptual arguments underlying current accounting thought and on-going controversies and debates on selected accounting issues. The emphasis is on developing an inquiring mind and a critical approach to conceptual as well as related practical issues.

Learning goals

- Knowledge: a critical appreciation of different classical and more recent accounting empirical studies

- Skills: an ability to critically review different studies, an ability to read, synthesize and critique academic papers, an ability to present and communicate complex ideas in a classroom setting, an ability to build theoretical frameworks that synthesize different perspectives.




The context of accounting

  1. Course Overview
  2. Theory & theory formulation in Accounting
  3. The context of financial reporting - markets, contracts, society and bounded rationality.
  4. The role of accounting theories.

Accounting and decision making in ideal and non-ideal conditions.

  1. An ideal condition criteria
  2. Simple decision models
  3. Accounting under an ideal condition
  4. Accounting under non-ideal conditions
  5. Earnings quality

Accounting under non-ideal conditions –Information perspectives on decision usefulness

  1. Market efficiency – CAPM-CMR
  2. Full & continuous disclosure – voluntary disclosure
  3. Capital Market Research
  4. Implications for Financial Reporting
  5. Early empirical findings

Accounting under non-ideal conditions –Measurement Perspective on Decision-Usefulness

  1. Efficient Securities Market Anomalies
  2. Ohlson’s Clean Surplus Theory
  3. Measurement perspective in practice
  4. Clean surplus in practice

The role of accounting in management contracts.

  1. Theory of the firm
  2. Agency & contracting cost theories
  3. Accounting policy choice
  4. Economic Consequences
  5. Implications of Agency Theory for Accounting
  6. Executive compensation


Scott, William R., 2011, Financial accounting theory, 6th edition, Pearson Prentice Hall

Beaver, W., Financial Reporting: An accounting revolution, Prentice-Hall, 1989

Watts, R.L. and J.L. Zimmerman, Positive Accounting Theory, Prentice-Hall, 1986




1ère tentative

Sans examen (cf. modalités)  

Article discussion: 40%. Slides should: Set-up the stage with background readings, Clearly state what are the research questions, What is the motivation, What is the theoretical framework used to justify hypotheses and model, How are we measuring the variables/proxying for the constructs, Main results, Personal evaluation (limitations, avenues for future research)

Presentation of empirical results 40% Slides should present sample, descriptive statistics and early univariate and multivariate test results.

Class participation and discussion: 20%


Sans examen (cf. modalités)  

Students who fail the course will pass a 30 minutes oral exam on all the topics of the seminar.

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