Tag Archives: government accounting

The purgatorial shadows of war: Accounting, blame and shell shock pensions 1914-23

Miley, F.M. & Read, A.F. (2015). The purgatorial shadows of war: Accounting, blame and shell shock pensions 1914-23. Paper presented at eighth Accounting History International Conference, Ballarat.

Abstract: This research is a qualitative analysis of the role of accounting in British disablement pensions awarded to men who sustained shell shock during their Army service in the First World War. It suggests that accounting classification of shell shock for pension determination purposes supported a view of shell shock which made men with shell shock scapegoats of a system that was often unsupportive. Accounting classification contributed to the lack of support by distancing pension decision-makers from the moral consequences of pension determinations. This was able to occur because the British government used accounting classification as part of a mechanism to avoid blame for its pension determination choices. This research contributes to an ongoing debate about the role of government by suggesting that the functions of government provide opportunities for accounting to simultaneously serve a neutral role as mere inscription while being a social and moral construct.

Paper available through Andrew Read’s ResearchGate page.

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Hiding who pays: When disaster relief becomes a disaster

Miley, F. M., & Read, A. F. (2015). Hiding who pays: When disaster relief becomes a disaster. Paper presented at the Asia-Pacific Economic and Business History Conference, Canberra. http://www.acsacs.unsw.adfa.edu.au/news-and-events/apebh2015/

Abstract

Accounting can be a tool of cultural hegemony. In this research we examine the history of the interplay between the New Zealand government and local governments in the management of the recovery from earthquakes. We examine the management of the recovery from two earthquakes, Murchison and Napier, which occurred prior to the introduction of new public management and compare them to the management of the recovery from the recent Christchurch earthquakes. We conclude that accounting arrangements associated with the introduction of new public management permit the shifting of costs of earthquake recovery from the national government to local government while simultaneously hiding the hegemonic control the national government has over local government.

Link to paper

After the quake: The complex dance of local government, national government and accounting

Miley, F. M., & Read, A. F. (2013). After the quake: The complex dance of local government, national government and accounting. Accounting History, 18(4), 447-471.

Accounting History CoverAbstract

This research considers accounting for post-earthquake recovery in New Zealand. New Zealand’s most devastating earthquakes are considered to be the Murchison earthquake of 1929, the Napier/Hawke’s Bay earthquake of 1931 and the Christchurch earthquakes of 2010–11. At the time of the Murchison and Napier earthquakes, government accounting information was an ex post record of expenditure. Contemporary government accounting in New Zealand is accrual based and comprehensive, and so accounting information has played a more prominent role in the management of Christchurch’s earthquake recovery. Apart from evidencing the significant change to government accounting, an historical comparison of accounting in the context of the Murchison and Napier earthquakes vis-à-vis the Christchurch earthquakes indicates the extent of change in the interplay between national and local government in New Zealand. The relationship between national and local government, though legally unchanged, has become more complex, but the financial reports do not reveal this complexity. Through historical analysis the extent of this change is made visible.

Link to article