This paper aims to investigate whether the value relevance of accounting amounts differs across nations depending on the country characteristics identified by Nobes (2008) and Nobes and Parker (2010) that is the source of funds, the legal system and the fiscal legislation that led them to identify, in the EU, the so-called strong-equity and the weak-equity countries. Because of the different disclosure needs, our hypothesis is that insiders, within the strong-equity countries, disclose more relevant information than in weak-equity countries. To test this hypothesis, we analysed a sample including all the listed entities belonging to the EU at the time of the issuance of EU Regulation 1606/2002. The sample covered the period of 2006-2011 and included 16,513 firm-year observations. Our sample selection strategy allowed us to include entities required to comply with the same accounting standards (IAS/IFRS), so our findings do not depend on differences between requirements of different standard setters. Comparatively, our findings demonstrate that the value relevance of accounting amounts not only is higher in strong-equity countries than in weak-equity countries - validating our research hypothesis - but also that it is not driven by specific firms’ characteristics that are the size, the future growth opportunity and the source of funds of the single entity.
Keywords: Value relevance; weak-equity countries; strong-equity countries; IFRS. First submission: 9 April 2014, accepted: 12 November 2014