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Title:Partial diffusion and backsliding in international standards
Author(s):Niece, Blair Lyle
Director of Research:Pahre, Robert
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Pahre, Robert
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Bernhard, William; Winters, Matthew; Dai, Xinyuan
Department / Program:Political Science
Discipline:Political Science
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):International cooperation on financial standards
Global politics and financial standards
IFRS cooperation
Abstract:Built through international efforts and agreements, international accounting standards are the foundation that supports cross border investment. These standards are political and, as with other areas of international capital regulation, are built through a mix of public and private bodies. Yet, despite nearly sixty years of efforts, the international community has not produced a consistent set of standards. Researchers have attempted to explain this failure through theories of power (economic and other) as well as with theories of political ties and legal systems (Eaton 2005; Eberle & Lutz 2008; Posner 2009 & 2010; Ramanna & Sletten 2009; Simmons 2001; Veron 2007). These theories have been inadequate and sometimes empirically wrong in explaining and predicting the politics and spread of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). One reason why these theories have been inadequate is that they have failed to account for the partial and incomplete nature of typical agreements on international accounting standards. For example, despite an agreement of complete convergence, China and the EU have only selectively applied some international accounting rules to various sectors of their economies. Taking partial cooperation into account not only helps explain accounting standards but has implications for studies of international cooperation more broadly I posit cooperation on these financial agreements, which is often partial and incomplete, can be explained by the role of private regulators in setting international standards. This contrasts with Drezner’s (2007) theory that great powers are responsible for international regulatory outcomes, and with Fioretos’ (2010) argument that international regulatory outcomes are a product of historical institutionalism. The interaction among governments and transgovernmental actors has been widely studied regarding similar capital regulation, but I approach IFRS differently by analyzing private regulators’ interactions with governments and firms. For this analysis, I have built an original dataset of international accounting standards agreements from 1980 to 2016 that assesses the level of cooperation between countries and how private regulators are involved. To explain the unique international issues surrounding financial standards, I develop three models or lenses: A Prisoner’s Dilemma model, a coordination model, and a compliance model. Chapter two discusses the cooperation model and how countries initially move toward one standard among several. My main argument is economic imbalances push countries away from cooperation on financial rules. I posit capital exporting countries want transparency while capital importing countries would like to use more obscure financial rules to gain a competitive advantage. This asymmetry between countries tends to move them towards partial cooperation. The results from my quantitative and qualitative analyses support these claims. Chapter three discusses the coordination model and how countries selectively apply international financial agreements to avoid their application to some sectors or firms. Furthermore, I examine the distributional consequences stemming from this process. My main argument in this chapter is that countries would like to maximize gains by applying international agreements to industries that will benefit while shielding those that will lose. This makes the international agreement less meaningful since its purpose it to cross-border comparability of firms. I find dependence on foreign creditors or international markets determines which sectors governments and private regulators choose to adhere to international standards. The results using my original dataset support these claims. Chapter four discusses the compliance model and explains the differing rates of compliance. There are three main compliance problems: (1) political independence of private regulators, (2) financial independence of private regulators, and (3) the disconnect between private bodies and government bodies in terms of their understanding of what can be accomplished when agreeing to IFRS. I use a combination of case studies and quantitative analysis to demonstrate how these issues impact compliance of international financial agreements. I conclude with a discussion on how these lens can be used together and how anticipated international compliance shapes both cooperation and coordination. Furthermore, I give a summary of how this project fits in the context of other analyses of the political problems plaguing IFRS and similar international regulatory agreements.
Issue Date:2017-06-30
Type:Thesis
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/98189
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Blair Niece
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-09-29
Date Deposited:2017-08


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