IFRS Adoption in the United States: An Analysis of the Role of the SEC’s Chairs

Kirstin Becker*, Holger Daske, Christoph Pelger, Stephen Zeff

*Corresponding author for this work

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In this paper, we study the role of the SEC’s Chairs in the possible adoption of IFRS in the United States between 2005 and 2017. We mobilize the theoretical framework of institutional entrepreneurship to analyze the multidimensional institutional process which involves the streams of problem recognition, policy development and politics. Our qualitative empirical study finds that the SEC Chairs attempted to couple the three streams to different extents to achieve policy breakthroughs on IFRS adoption. We show how the coupling endeavors of Chair Cox opened a temporal window of opportunity for IFRS adoption, while Chairs Schapiro and White were unsuccessful in coupling the streams due to limited recognition of IFRS adoption as a central problem for the SEC, the inability to develop a practicable policy solution and unfavorable conditions in the policy stream. Our paper offers insights into the reasons for the SEC’s substantial efforts to introduce IFRS to U.S. capital markets and why these efforts never resulted in a formal decision on adopting IFRS for U.S. issuers. Our findings contribute to literatures on IFRS adoption, the temporal dimension of institutional entrepreneurship and the U.S. debate on IFRS.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107016
JournalJournal of Accounting and Public Policy
Issue number3
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - May 2023

Bibliographical note

Published online: 13 September 2022.


  • IFRS adoption
  • Institutional entrepreneurship
  • Regulation
  • Rulemaking process
  • SEC

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