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The Scandalous State of Government Accounting

Brian Sturgess - March 2012

‘Why does the economics profession continue to use misleading,

inaccurate and often fraudulent public-sector accounting data?’

Governments are called to intervene to control fraudulent accounting practices when self-regulation has failed. These actions usually follow large corporate failures such as the spectacular demises of Enron, Worldcom and Parmalat. Rapid action is often needed to restore the confidence of capital markets, and legislators acted swiftly with the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) in the United States in 2002 in order to renew the faith held by investors in the diligence of auditors and in the probity of corporate internal controls over financial reporting. Since then, much progress has been ma...

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