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The Incentives of Australian Public Companies Lobbying Against Proposed Superannuation Accounting Standards

Ang, Nicole, Gallery, Natalie, & Sidhu, Baljit K. (2000) The Incentives of Australian Public Companies Lobbying Against Proposed Superannuation Accounting Standards. Abacus, 36(1), pp. 40-70.

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Abstract

The release of AASB 1028 Accounting for Employee Entitlements followed a period of intense lobbying and debate, resulting in a standard that contained significantly less stringent requirements than those proposed in the preceding exposure draft. This paper examines the incentives for public companies to lobby on the proposals in ED 53 Accounting for Employee Entitlements for the recognition of superannuation commitments of Australian companies. First, it analyses written submissions of public companies to identify the relative importance of superannuation as opposed to other types of employee benefits, and to identify the issues within superannuation that were of particular concern. Second, characteristics of lobbying companies are compared with non-lobbying companies to identify whether the types of arguments put by lobbyists are indicative of systematic differences between lobbying and non-lobbying companies. It is found that companies responding to ED 53 were predominantly concerned with issues relating to defined benefit superannuation plans and the adverse effects of the proposals on income volatility. Consistent with this, companies sponsoring defined benefit plans were more likely to lobby against the proposals. Companies that chose to lobby were also larger in size and had higher income volatility than non-lobbying companies. The paper provides a mapping between the arguments used by lobbying companies and their economic characteristics and evidence that, at least in the case of superannuation issues, lobbying behaviour truthfully revealed the preferences of lobbyists. The findings differ from those of comparable U.S. studies, the most obvious reason for this being institutional differences. This underscores the need to control for institutional differences and to exercise caution in generalising results across countries.

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ID Code: 4915
Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Superannuation, Pension accounting, Lobbying, Standard Setting, Accounting standards, ED 53, AASB 1028, Australian public companies
DOI: 10.1111/1467-6281.00053
ISSN: 0001-3072
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > ACCOUNTING AUDITING AND ACCOUNTABILITY (150100) > Financial Accounting (150103)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2000 Blackwell Publishing
Copyright Statement: The definitive version is available at www.blackwell-synergy.com
Deposited On: 31 Aug 2006
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2011 23:27

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