Through the years, pooling of interest accounting was criticized as contrary to the decision usefulness objective of financial reporting and potentially misleading to stockholders and creditors, the assumed principal users of financial reports. This paper does not dispute those criticisms. It demonstrates, however, that there were some very good reasons for permitting pooling accounting for certain business combinations when the method was developed in the 1940s. At that time, the basic objectives of financial accounting encompassed stewardship and decision usefulness for multiple users, including public utility regulators and public policy makers. Pooling accounting developed in part to satisfy the information needs of public utility regulators who favored aboriginal (original historical) cost to determine the utility rate base; additionally, it was favored by public policy makers who sought lower utility rates (prices) to foster social and economic goals.

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