The Continuity of the Board of Statutory Auditors Across Social, Economic and Political Institutional Changes

European Accounting Review, Forthcoming

53 Pages Posted: 11 May 2020

See all articles by Michael Jones

Michael Jones

University of Bristol

Andrea Melis

University of Cagliari

Date Written: April 16, 2020


This study examines how and why the board of statutory auditors, an important accounting institution, has continued to operate from its establishment in 1882 until today, with little change in its nature and role. This is despite the fundamental changes that have occurred in the Italian social, economic and political environment. This study reveals that even though Italy’s societal institutions have substantially changed, the board of statutory auditors has continued to exist with no real change in its essence. This long-lived accounting institution has continued to operate, with no material change in its nature, across different historical blocs, such as monarchy, fascism, post-war socio-democratic republic, neoliberal republic, and major changes in Italian politics and economy. This accounting institution has also faced a series of potentially significant sources of change, which appeared dramatic at first sight, but had no significant far-reaching historical impact, as hegemony was unaffected. In Italian society, the board of statutory auditors has provided a reassurance role, in principle this is to monitor company directors, a role which is perceived to benefit all society. However, in practice, this institution has provided a legitimating, rather than a substantive monitoring mechanism. It helped to exercise a hegemonic control for the ruling class, whose power was diffused across society through civil institutions during various historical blocs.

Keywords: accounting history, board of statutory auditors, hegemony, Italy

JEL Classification: M41, M42

Suggested Citation

Jones, Michael and Melis, Andrea, The Continuity of the Board of Statutory Auditors Across Social, Economic and Political Institutional Changes (April 16, 2020). European Accounting Review, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN:

Michael Jones

University of Bristol ( email )

United States

Andrea Melis (Contact Author)

University of Cagliari ( email )

Dipartimento di Scienze economiche ed aziendali
Viale S. Ignazio 17
Cagliari, 09123
+39-070-6753302 (Phone)
+39-070-6753321 (Fax)


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