The number of accounting graduates has declined sharply following the near universal adoption of the 150‐hour requirement for licensing and as a condition for membership in the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). This decline has led many observers to conclude that the 150‐hour requirement was a mistake. Our study investigates the extent to which the 150‐hour requirement (rather than other causes) is responsible for the decline in the number of accounting graduates during the 1990s. We document that approximately 38 percent of the decline can be attributed to the requirement. The other 62 percent of the decline remains unexplained. Our study underscores the importance of considering other factors such as noncompetitive compensation, unattractive working conditions, inappropriate student counseling, and inadequate curriculum among others when trying to understand the decline in accounting enrollments.
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