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Scale and the Scale Effect in Market-based Accounting Research


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  • Peter D. Easton
  • Gregory A. Sommers
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    The nature of the data we usually encounter in market-based accounting research is such that the results of the regressions of market capitalization on financial statement variables (referred to 'price-levels' regressions) are driven by a relatively small subset of the very largest firms in the sample. We refer to this overwhelming influence of the largest firms as the 'scale effect'. This effect is more than heteroscedasticity. It arises due to the non-linearity in the relation between market capitalization and the financial statement variables. We present the case that scale is market capitalization rather than a correlated omitted variable. Since scale "is" market capitalization, we advocate its use as a deflator in a regression estimated using weighted least squares. This regression overcomes the scale effect and the resultant regression residuals are more economically meaningful. Christie's (1987) depiction of scale is the same as ours but he advocates the use of the returns regression specification in order to avoid scale effects. We agree that returns regressions should be used unless the research question calls for a price-levels regression. Copyright Blackwell Publishers Ltd, 2003.

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    Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Journal of Business Finance & Accounting.

    Volume (Year): 30 (2003-01)
    Issue (Month): 1-2 ()
    Pages: 25-56

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    Handle: RePEc:bla:jbfnac:v:30:y:2003-01:i:1-2:p:25-56

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    Cited by:
    1. Lo, Kin, 2004. "The Effects of Scale Differences on Inferences in Accounting Research: Coefficient Estimates, Tests of Incremental Association, and Relative Value Relevance," Working papers 555684, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    2. Rubio Martín, Gracia & Rodríguez Paredes, Mercedes & Maroto Acín, Juan Antonio, 2013. "La escasa relevancia de la información contable sobre los activos intangibles en la valoración de las empresas innovadoras españolas: el caso de los sectores farmacéutico y biotecnológico || The ," Revista de Métodos Cuantitativos para la Economía y la Empresa = Journal of Quantitative Methods for Economics and Business Administration, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Department of Quantitative Methods for Economics and Business Administration, vol. 16(1), pages 68-94, December.
    3. Misund, Bård & Asche, Frank & Osmundsen, Petter, 2008. "Industry upheaval and valuation: Empirical evidence from the international oil and gas industry," The International Journal of Accounting, Elsevier, vol. 43(4), pages 398-424, December.
    4. Al-Hares, Osama M. & AbuGhazaleh, Naser M. & Haddad, Ayman E., 2012. "Value relevance of earnings, book value and dividends in an emerging capital market: Kuwait evidence," Global Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 221-234.
    5. Guidara, Alaa & Lai, Van Son & Soumaré, Issouf & Tchana, Fulbert Tchana, 2013. "Banks’ capital buffer, risk and performance in the Canadian banking system: Impact of business cycles and regulatory changes," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(9), pages 3373-3387.
    6. Fiordelisi, Franco, 2007. "Shareholder value efficiency in European banking," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(7), pages 2151-2171, July.
    7. Lin, Stephen & Ramond, Olivier & Casta, Jean-François, 2008. "Value Relevance of Summary Accounting Income Measures: Evidence from Major European Capital Markets," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/3507, Paris Dauphine University.
    8. Igor Goncharov & Allan Hodgson, 2008. "Comprehensive Income In Europe: Valuation, Prediction And Conservative Issues," Annales Universitatis Apulensis Series Oeconomica, Faculty of Sciences, "1 Decembrie 1918" University, Alba Iulia, vol. 1(10), pages 1.
    9. L. Gil-Alana & R. Iniguez-Sanchez & G. Lopez-Espinosa, 2011. "Endogenous problems in cross-sectional valuation models based on accounting information," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 245-265, August.
    10. Prather-Kinsey, Jenice, 2006. "Developing countries converging with developed-country accounting standards: Evidence from South Africa and Mexico," The International Journal of Accounting, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 141-162.
    11. Ahmed, Kamran & Godfrey, Jayne M. & Saleh, Norman M., 2008. "Market perceptions of discretionary accruals by debt renegotiating firms during economic downturn," The International Journal of Accounting, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 114-138.
    12. Clare Roberts & Yue Wang, 2009. "Accounting harmonization and the value-relevance of dirty surplus accounting flows," Review of Accounting and Finance, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 8(4), pages 340-368, November.
    13. Casta, Jean-François & Ramond, Olivier & Lin, Stephen, 2007. "Value relevance of comprehensive income and its components: Evidence from major European capital markets," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/2814, Paris Dauphine University.
    14. Vera Palea, 2012. "Are IFRS Value-Relevant for Separate Financial Statements? Evidence from the Italian Stock Market," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201211, University of Turin.


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