The Evolution of Behavioral Accounting Research in the United States, 1968-1987

David Burgstahler and Gary L. Sundem
This paper reviews behavioral accounting research (BAR) from the perspective of nonbehavioral researchers (information economists). The role of BAR in identifying the demand function for accounting information is discussed. A brief review of trends in the types of BAR published in three major journals provides a background for general observations about the current state of BAR. Seven inherent difficulties of BAR are presented, followed by five areas where significant progress has been made in the past 20 years and seven areas of potential improvements. The paper concludes that BAR will have an important influence on the accounting products of the future. However, despite significant progress in the 1970s and 1980s, BAR is still a broad, unfocused discipline, with increasing quality of research and researchers, but not yet to the point of having a unified set of research results that are generally accepted.

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