The Korean Emissions Trading Scheme: Focusing on Accounting Issues
Kim, Tae Hee
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
The purpose of this study is to examine the accounting standard-setting process in relation to emissions rights and related liabilities in the Korean context in order to provide a better understanding of accounting issues under an emissions trading scheme (ETS). Using an interpretive inductive approach, this study comprises semi-structured, face-to-face interviews and analysis of relevant documents. Interviews were carried out with a wide range of key players, including accounting standard setters (Korean Accounting Standards Board, International Accounting Standards Board, and Autorité des Normes Comptables), accounting experts, industry and government. This study identifies how problematic accounting issues on emissions rights and related liabilities have been addressed by accounting standard setters. The key accounting issues under ETS are linked mainly with free allowances. It is found that accounting standard setters attempt to establish the most appropriate accounting standard under the given circumstances reflecting a variety of considerations, and that the most common elements affecting the development of accounting standards for ETS are the legal and economic context, the existing accounting framework, and preceding models and practices. Nevertheless, these factors affect the development of accounting standards for ETS in different ways. Accordingly, the primary accounting issues on which each standard setter concentrates vary depending on different circumstances and considerations. This study investigates the accounting standard-setting process for emissions rights by Korean accounting standard setters, from the agenda-setting stage to the final publication of the standard. The findings reinforce the importance of political factors in the standard-setting process, including stakeholders’ participation in the process, prominent stakeholders, and the motivation, methods and timing of lobbying activities. In particular, the findings have important implications for the effectiveness of lobbying. Overall, the findings confirm that accounting standards are likely to be the political outcome of interactions between the accounting standard setter and stakeholders. The findings highlight desirable factors for accounting models of emissions rights. Desirability or appropriateness of standard is judged by the extent to which stakeholders in institutional environments consider the promulgation to be legitimate or authoritative. Therefore, accounting standard setters must make greater efforts to encourage stakeholders to participate in the standard-setting process in order to ensure institutional legitimacy. The originality of this study lies in its empirical research on accounting issues for ETS from a practical point of view. In particular, in its timely and detailed investigation of Korean accounting standard setters, this study provides a broader understanding of the accounting standard-setting process in the Korean context. The study also advances legitimacy theory by offering a framework particularly applicable to accounting standard setting process, which also incorporates stakeholder theory research. The study finds support from the framework and further contributes to the related literature by reviewing legitimacy conflicts. From an accounting policy point of view, the findings have implications for both national and international standard setters and provide guidance on how to achieve high-quality accounting standards with a high degree of compliance.
PhD in Accountancy