Measuring the intellectual capital of companies: a proposal of two proxies

Francisco Antonio Mesquita Zanini, Leandro Cañibano Calvo


In today’s knowledge society the theme of the intellectual capital or intangible assets of companies is being increasingly studied, but these studies often lack empirical evidence as they are rather theoretical constructions. The disconnection between the companies’ book and market prices is well described by a number of authors, but the connection between this fact and the various intellectual capital theories deserves a more comprehensive and profound research. Admittedly, there is a lack of standards for measuring the companies’ intellectual capital. That is why this exploratory paper, using established intellectual capital models, tries to find a set of indicators that can be used as proxies of that intellectual capital, thereby helping to get a better interpretation of the companies’ real present and future situation. It proposes to create two proxies for the intellectual capital that are tested by associating them with the market/book price ratio. These proxies translate in numbers, using an original methodology, a set of objective and subjective data offered by companies in their annual reports. The results indicate that at least one of the proxies, the one that deals with objective information, has shown good results for the Brazilian listed banks analyzed in the period from 1997 to 2005.

Key words: intangible assets, intellectual capital, accounting theory, intellectual capital indicators.


ISSN: 1984-8196 - Best viewed in Mozilla Firefox

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