This study examines the impact on the comparability of earnings of two important events that occurred in 2005 in the Scandinavian region: the European Union-mandated adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and the mergers between the three national exchanges of Denmark, Finland, and Sweden. Our tests follow two approaches. The first approach relies on mean-centered earnings/price multiples following Land and Lang (2002) to determine if the multiples converge in the 2005–2008 period. Our results show that all countries except Finland experienced a lower mean-centered earnings/price ratio in the 2005–2008 period. Additionally, in the 2005–2008 period, the mean-centered earnings/price ratio in Norway deviates from the region's mean more than it deviates from the mean in Finland, Denmark, and Sweden, even after controlling for other firm and country factors. Our second approach uses a firm-year comparability measure (De Franco et al. 2011) calculated during the 2001–2004 and 2005–2008 periods to assess whether comparability increases during the 2005–2008 period. Since the two events in our study are contemporaneous, we use Norway as a benchmark to separate the effect of IFRS from that of harmonized regulation after the merger. The results generally show that comparability is significantly higher during the 2005–2008 period in all countries. Our multivariate tests also confirm that comparability increases (although marginally) for all OMX Nordic Exchange countries, relative to Norway, from the 2001–2004 to the 2005–2008 period.
Data Availability: Data are available from public sources indicated in the paper.