Framework Paper

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Vol. 23, No. 1
pp. 1–43

American Accounting Association
DOI: 10.2308/bria.2011.23.1.1

A Proposed Framework for Behavioral
Accounting Research
Jacob G. Birnberg
University of Pittsburgh
ABSTRACT: Behavioral accounting research BAR is richer today, in the topics covered, the methods used, and the range of sub-areas of accounting in which it is performed, than ever before. This paper offers a framework within which BAR literature can be viewed as a whole rather than in segments, such as by accounting sub-areas or by research method. The framework classifies BAR by the focus of the research: the individual, group, organization, or the society within which accounting exists. The purpose of the framework is to help researchers in BAR to appreciate the insights to their research questions that can be found in BAR using another research method or studying a similar issue in another sub-area of accounting. Existing research in each of these four areas is discussed to illustrate the usefulness of the framework. In addition, behavioral research in other disciplines that could impact BAR and areas of potential future research are discussed.

Keywords: behavioral accounting research.

n the 20 or so years since Birnberg and Shields 1989 reviewed behavioral accounting research BAR , the area of applied behavioral research in general and BAR in particular has burgeoned. The BAR literature has grown in breadth, depth, and complexity. This change reflects an important trend in BAR: the reference disciplines and the object of accounting and nonaccounting behavioral researchers have broadened.

The behavioral decision-making and cognitive psychology literatures that stimulated a significant portion of the emerging BAR research up to the late 1980s continue to have a significant influence on BAR e.g., Camerer 2001 . In addition, the role of behavioral research has grown in other social science disciplines. Experimental...
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