shutterstock_146356064While money can’t buy happiness, access to technology is capable of producing that very result, researchers from Temple University’s Fox School of Business found.

The team of Fox School researchers examined the role played by information and communication technology (ICT), uncovering a link between it and personal well-being. Their research paper, titled, “Does information and communication technology lead to the well-being of nations? A country-level empirical investigation,” has been accepted for upcoming publication by top academic journal, MIS Quarterly.

Kartik Ganju, Fox School PhD candidate; Dr. Paul A. Pavlou, Milton F. Stauffer Professor of Management Information Systems; and Dr. Rajiv D. Banker, Merves Chair in Accounting and Information Technology comprised the Fox research team.

The team argued that the adoption of ICT by countries leads to an increase in levels of well-being of its citizens, and that doing so helps citizens develop social capital and achieve social equality.

The Fox research team grouped 110 countries into three categories (low ICT, medium ICT and high ICT). The researchers found that countries with low levels of ICT could increase the happiness levels of their citizens by giving them access to mobile telephone lines. Hence, countries with low levels of ICT may not have to invest in expensive fixed line networks to increase the level of their citizens’ happiness, but could “leap-frog” the adoption of these systems in favor of mobile telephones, to increase happiness.

Using the results of a Gallup World Poll survey, which measured the global well-being of individual nations, Fox researchers found that the adoption of ICT led to an increase in the well-being of its citizens. Moreover, they found that access to ICT gave individuals a voice, “and an opportunity to communicate with others like themselves,” Ganju said. ICT also impacted the health of a nation’s people, with newfound access to proper healthcare practices, the team said. The researchers also cited access to education and real-time information that ICT affords as additional benefits.

“Most people assume that by giving an individual a certain amount of money that you can make him or her happier, and we found that this is not the case,” Ganju said. “We found that it is not just the income of GDP of a country that renders happiness. Access to information and communication technology allows people to feel an interconnected bond with each other than cannot obtain with money.”

“Suddenly, people were being exposed to different markets and rates. This allowed them to better bargain and achieve more-favorable pricing scenarios,” said Pavlou, Fox School’s Associate Dean of Research, Doctoral Programs and Strategic Initiatives. “Regardless of a particular nation’s gross-domestic product, access to technology can amplify that country’s productivity and the well-being of its people,” Pavlou added. “ICT works to even the playing field between the wealthiest and poorest of nations.”

The Third Annual Conference at Temple University on the Convergence of Managerial and Financial Accounting Research was held Aug. 7-9.

Co-hosted by the Merves Center for Accounting and Information Technology, and the Accounting Department at Temple’s Fox School of Business, the conference has received additional sponsorship support allthree years from the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) UK, the world’s largest professional body of management accountants. Each year, the Accounting Conference explores state-of-the-art practices in how the understanding of financial reporting is and can be informed by considering managerial accounting issues, while showcasing important cutting-edge research by scholars in both managerial and financial accounting.

More than 80 leading experts gathered at Alter Hall, home to the Fox School of Business, including keynote speakers Jacob Thomas, Rajiv Banker, Eva Labro, Paul Zarowin, Sudipta Basu, Ranjani Krishnan and Lawrence Brown.

A co-organizer of this and other accounting conference series, Banker said this particular series attracted 50 percent more participants than last year, and is hopeful for continued growth in the years to come.

“Convergence of managerial and financial accounting is an exciting and expanding new field of research,” said Banker, a Professor of Accounting at Fox. “The Fox School of Business at Temple University, our faculty, and our PhD students are seen as emerging leaders in this new field of inquiry.”

Presentations featured research work by academics, revealing how managerial behavior influences financial reporting, and covered topics like Analyst Forecasts, Performance Evaluations, Earnings Behavior, International Financial Reporting, and Taxation. Presenters and attendees came from around the world, including representatives from universities such as Harvard, Northwestern, New York University, the London Business School, Yale, Columbia and Tilburg University.

In addition to presentations from professors and leading academic experts, 12 PhD students presented their research work during the conference.

Assistant Professor of Accounting at the Fox School and a co-organizer of this year’s conference, Lucas Threinen said he was impressed by the PhD students who had been accepted as presenters, noting “these students represented themselves very well, and I believe they were able to get valuable feedback about their work.”

Providing PhD students with an opportunity to present their research at an academic conference builds upon the mission of the Fox School’s PhD Program to educate, train and mentor PhD students in a supportive research environment with the aid of Fox faculty to generate and publish ground-breaking research in top journal outlets, and place them in peer and aspirant research institutions around the world.

Next year’s conference on the Convergence of Managerial and Financial Accounting will be held at the University of Calgary, in Canada, which Banker hopes will expand the scope of already-growing attendance, and will be co-sponsored again by the Merves Center for Accounting and Information Technology at the Fox School of Business. The Merves Center has more exciting events in the works for the upcoming academic year, bringing a new academic conference series focusing on Accounting Information Systems to Temple. Banker will co-organize this conference series with newly appointed Assistant Professor of Accounting Hilal Atasoy.

More information on conferences sponsored by the Accounting Department at the Fox School of Business at Temple University can be found by visiting their departmental website.