Western accounting reforms and accountability in wealth redistribution in patronage-based Nigerian society

Owolabi Bakre, Sarah Lauwo, Sean McCartney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the claim that Western accounting reforms, in particular the adoption of International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSASs) would enhance transparency and accountability and reduce corruption in patronage-based developing countries such as Nigeria.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper utilises the patron/clientelism framework to examine the dynamics of Western accounting reforms in the Nigerian patronage-based society, in which the institutions of governance and regulatory structures are arguably weak. The paper utilises archival data and
interviews conducted with representatives of state bodies (elected politicians and officials) and professional accounting associations.
Findings – Results from two major reforms (the sale of government-owned residential properties in Lagos and the monetisation of fringe benefits for public officials) are presented. Despite the claim of the adoption of
Western accounting standards, and in particular IPSAS 17, which requires full accrual accounting and the utilisation of fair value in property valuation, historical cost accounting appeared to have been mobilised to massively corrupt the process for the benefit of politicians, other serving and retired public officials and family members.
Originality/value – This study contributes to the current literature by providing evidence of the relationship between patronage, corruption and accounting in wealth redistribution in the patronage-based Nigerian socio-political and economic context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1288-1308
JournalAccounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal
Issue number6
Early online date6 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2017


  • Corruption
  • International Public Sector Accounting Standards
  • Patron/clientelism
  • Wealth redistribution
  • Western accounting reforms


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