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Name File Type Size Last Modified
All Other Tables and Figures on Mass Corporations.do text/x-stata-syntax 6 KB 06/23/2020 10:57:AM
Figure 4_Topics in the Accountants Index.xlsx application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.spreadsheetml.sheet 78.1 KB 06/17/2020 01:19:PM
Mass Corps Accounting, 1870-1895.xlsx application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.spreadsheetml.sheet 5.7 MB 07/03/2020 10:16:AM

Project Citation: 

Rosenthal, Caitlin. Massachusetts Corporations Accounting Data, 1870-1895 and Accountants’ Index Publications. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2020-07-03. https://doi.org/10.3886/E119566V1

Project Description

Summary:  View help for Summary This is the replication package for "Balancing the Books: Convergence and Diversity in Accounting, 1875-1895." The late nineteenth century is often described as an era of innovation in managerial practice, including accounting. However, despite rich case studies of individual firms, we have little quantitative knowledge of average practices. This paper uses errors and omissions in balance statements to estimate the prevalence of double-entry bookkeeping and depreciation at Massachusetts corporations between 1875–1895. In 1875, 60 percent of firms balanced their returns, but by 1895 this number exceeded 96 percent. The proportion considering depreciation increased from 18 to 24 percent over the period. Firms using these techniques survived longer on average.

All tables and graphs except for Figure 4 use the data in the excel sheet titled "Mass Corps Accounting, 1870-1895." The stata do file includes, in order of the paper, code for the relevant tables and figures. Where they were constructed in excel, the do file notes this in the text. Figure 4 uses citation counts from the Accountants' Index, and these as well as how they were obtained are described in the excel file "Figure 4_Topics in the Accountants Index."

Scope of Project

Geographic Coverage:  View help for Geographic Coverage United States, Massachusetts, New England
Time Period(s):  View help for Time Period(s) 1875 – 1895 (Nineteenth Century)
Universe:  View help for Universe Massachusetts corporations, 1875-1895; data collection is yearly for 1875-1881 and periodic for the longer period (1885, 1890, 1895). The spreadsheet also includes some data  for 1871-1874 before the reports took the form of balance sheets. 
Publications listed in the Accountants's Index (1921), paper analysis is for 1800-1900 (some data in spreadsheet for pre 1800 and 1900-1921)
Data Type(s):  View help for Data Type(s) administrative records data; aggregate data

Methodology

Data Source:  View help for Data Source For the full run of published abstracts from which the Massachusetts data were collected, see Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Abstract of the Certificates of Corporations, Certificates of Corporations Annual Reports, State Library of Massachusetts https://archives.lib.state.ma.us/handle/2452/756400.

For the copy of the Accountants' Index that was digitized, see 
American Association of PublicInstitute of Accountants. Accountants’ Index: A Bibliography of Accounting Literature to December, 1920. New York: American Institute of Accountants, 1921. Available at https://hdl.handle.net/2027/uc1.$b101697.
Unit(s) of Observation:  View help for Unit(s) of Observation Corporation, Firm

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