European Business Schools Librarian's Group

Les Cahiers de Recherche,
HEC Paris

No 872: Towards an understanding of the phases of goodwill accounting in four Western capitalist countries: From stakeholder model to shareholder model

Yuan Ding , Hervé Stolowy () and Jacques Richard

Abstract: The objective of this paper is to illustrate that the change in shareholders’ attitude towards firms (from stakeholder model to shareholder model) influences the accounting treatments of goodwill. This study is based on four countries (Great Britain, the United States, Germany, and France) and covers more than a century, starting in 1880. The authors explain that all these countries have gone through four identified phases of goodwill accounting, classified as (1) “static”(immediate or rapid expensing), (2) “weakened static” (write-off against equity), (3) “dynamic” (recognition with amortization over a long period) and (4) “actuarial” (recognition without amortization but with impairment if necessary).

Keywords: Goodwill – Accounting history – Social nature of accounting – Stakeholder/shareholder models – Corporate governance; France; Germany; Great Britain; United States

JEL-codes: M41

70 pages, October 25, 2007

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