Anglo-American capitalism: the role and potential role of social accounting

David James Collison, C Dey, G Hannah, Lorna Ann Stevenson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    36 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose – This paper seeks to consider the impact and potential impact of social accounting at the macro level. It aims to explore the potential for “silent” or “shadow” social accounting to hold Anglo-American capitalism to account for its social outcomes relative to other “varieties of capitalism”.

    Design/methodology/approach – The role of accounting in spreading Anglo-American capitalist values is outlined. This is followed by a discussion of macro social indicators and their potential to problematise social outcomes. In particular the paper reports on, and updates, an investigation of comparative child mortality figures in wealthy countries that appeared in the medical literature. This evidence is used both as an exemplar and as a substantive issue in its own right.

    Findings – The specific empirical evidence reported, based on a cross-sectional and longitudinal analysis of child mortality and its relationship to income inequality, exemplifies the consistently poor and relatively worsening performance of the Anglo-American capitalist model. A rationale, and evidence, is also presented for the potential of such social reporting to act as an accountability mechanism.

    Originality/value – The paper introduces to the accounting literature specific evidence of poor social outcomes associated with Anglo-American capitalism. It considers the wider potential role of social indicators, as a component of silent and shadow reporting at a macro-level, in problematising dominant forms of economic and social organisation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)956-981
    JournalAccounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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