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The Use of Unsigned Earnings Quality Measures in Tests of Earnings Management

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  • PAUL HRIBAR
  • D. CRAIG NICHOLS
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    Abstract

    ABSTRACT This paper examines the implications of using the absolute value of discretionary accruals when testing for earnings management. First, we analytically develop the mean and variance of the distribution of absolute discretionary accruals, and show that the expected value is an increasing function of the variance in the underlying error term from the first-stage discretionary accrual estimation model. Second, we highlight several firm characteristics that are related to the error variance in discretionary accrual estimation models. Using simulations, we show that correlation between the earnings management partitioning variable and these firm characteristics leads to an overrejection of the null hypothesis of no earnings management. Third, we provide research design suggestions to help researchers mitigate the potential bias arising from the use of unsigned measures of earnings management. Using these suggestions, we replicate a recent study, and demonstrate that the inferences change after controlling for operating volatility. Copyright University of Chicago on behalf of the Institute of Professional Accounting, 2007.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Journal of Accounting Research.

    Volume (Year): 45 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 5 (December)
    Pages: 1017-1053

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    Handle: RePEc:bla:joares:v:45:y:2007:i:5:p:1017-1053

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    Cited by:
    1. Gerakos, Joseph & Kovrijnykh, Andrei, 2013. "Performance shocks and misreporting," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 57-72.
    2. Ayers, Benjamin C. & Ramalingegowda, Santhosh & Eric Yeung, P., 2011. "Hometown advantage: The effects of monitoring institution location on financial reporting discretion," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 41-61, June.
    3. Chaney, Paul & Faccio, Mara & Parsley, David, 2009. "The Quality of Accounting Information in Politically Connected Firms," MPRA Paper 21116, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Lennox, Clive & Li, Bing, 2012. "The consequences of protecting audit partners’ personal assets from the threat of liability," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 154-173.
    5. Gul, Ferdinand A. & Fung, Simon Yu Kit & Jaggi, Bikki, 2009. "Earnings quality: Some evidence on the role of auditor tenure and auditors' industry expertise," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 265-287, June.
    6. Tae Choi & Jinhan Pae, 2011. "Business Ethics and Financial Reporting Quality: Evidence from Korea," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 103(3), pages 403-427, October.
    7. Mouselli, Sulaiman & Jaafar, Aziz & Goddard, John, 2013. "Accruals quality, stock returns and asset pricing: Evidence from the UK," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 203-213.
    8. Houqe, Muhammad Nurul & van Zijl, Tony & Dunstan, Keitha & Karim, A.K.M. Waresul, 2012. "The Effect of IFRS Adoption and Investor Protection on Earnings Quality Around the World," The International Journal of Accounting, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 333-355.
    9. Mehmet Ünsal Memis & Emin Hüseyin Cetenak, 2012. "Earnings Management, Audit Quality and Legal Environment: An International Comparison," International Journal of Economics and Financial Issues, Econjournals, vol. 2(4), pages 460-469.
    10. Koon Boon Kee, 2011. "Why ‘Democracy’ anD ‘Drifter’ firms can have abnormal returns: the Joint importance of corporate Governance anD abnormal accruals in separatinG Winners from losers," Bogazici Journal of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Bogazici University, Department of Economics, vol. 25(1), pages 3-55.
    11. Jerry Sun & Guoping Liu & George Lan, 2011. "Does Female Directorship on Independent Audit Committees Constrain Earnings Management?," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 99(3), pages 369-382, March.
    12. (Xuefeng) Jiang, John & Petroni, Kathy R. & Yanyan Wang, Isabel, 2010. "CFOs and CEOs: Who have the most influence on earnings management?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(3), pages 513-526, June.
    13. Hazarika, Sonali & Karpoff, Jonathan M. & Nahata, Rajarishi, 2012. "Internal corporate governance, CEO turnover, and earnings management," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(1), pages 44-69.
    14. McInnis, John & Collins, Daniel W., 2011. "The effect of cash flow forecasts on accrual quality and benchmark beating," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 219-239, April.
    15. Yakup Ergincan, 2011. "Mobile Corporate Governance: A Model Proposal For Modern Corporate Governance And Investor Relations," Bogazici Journal of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Bogazici University, Department of Economics, vol. 25(1), pages 171-200.

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