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Managerial Empire Building and Firm Disclosure

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  • OLE-KRISTIAN HOPE
  • WAYNE B. THOMAS
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    Abstract

    ABSTRACT This study tests the agency cost hypothesis in the context of geographic earnings disclosures. The agency cost hypothesis predicts that managers, when not monitored by shareholders, make self-maximizing decisions that may not necessarily be in the best interest of shareholders. These decisions include aggressively growing the firm, which reduces profitability and destroys firm value. Geographic earnings disclosures provide an interesting context to examine this issue. Beginning with Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 131 (SFAS 131), most U.S. multinational firms are no longer required to disclose earnings by geographic area (e.g., net income in Mexico or net income in East Asia). Such nondisclosure potentially reduces the ability of shareholders to monitor managers' decisions related to foreign operations. Using a sample of U.S. multinationals with substantial foreign operations, we find that nondisclosing firms, relative to firms that continue to disclose geographic earnings, experience greater expansion of foreign sales, produce lower foreign profit margins, and have lower firm value in the post-SFAS 131 period. Our conclusions are strengthened by the fact that these differences do not exist in the pre-SFAS 131 period and do not relate to domestic operations. We find differences in the predicted direction only for foreign operations and only after adoption of SFAS 131. Our results are robust to the inclusion of an extensive set of control variables related to alternative corporate governance mechanisms, operating performance, and the firm's information environment. Overall, the results are consistent with the agency cost hypothesis and the important role of financial disclosures in monitoring managers. Copyright (c)University of Chicago on behalf of the Institute of Professional Accounting, 2008.

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    Bibliographic Info

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

    Volume (Year): 46 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 3 (06)
    Pages: 591-626

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    Handle: RePEc:bla:joares:v:46:y:2008:i:3:p:591-626

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    Cited by:
    1. Julien Clavier, 2011. "Transition aux normes comptables IAS/IFRS, discipline de marché et adéquation des fonds propres aux risques dans l'industrie bancaire européenne," Post-Print hal-00646838, HAL.
    2. Lin, Fengyi & Wu, Sheng-Fu, 2014. "Comparison of cosmetic earnings management for the developed markets and emerging markets: Some empirical evidence from the United States and Taiwan," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 466-473.
    3. Cheng, Mei & Dhaliwal, Dan & Zhang, Yuan, 2013. "Does investment efficiency improve after the disclosure of material weaknesses in internal control over financial reporting?," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 1-18.
    4. Gao, Pingyang, 2008. "Disclosure Quality, Cost of Capital, and Investors’ Welfare," MPRA Paper 9478, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Jun 2008.
    5. Sridhar Arcot & Valentina Bruno, 2012. "Do Standard Corporate Governance Practices Matter in Family Firms?," FMG Discussion Papers dp710, Financial Markets Group.
    6. Jackson, Scott B. & Keune, Timothy M. & Salzsieder, Leigh, 2013. "Debt, equity, and capital investment," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 291-310.
    7. Munisi, Gibson & Randøy, Trond, 2013. "Corporate governance and company performance across Sub-Saharan African countries," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 92-110.
    8. Biddle, Gary C. & Hilary, Gilles & Verdi, Rodrigo S., 2009. "How does financial reporting quality relate to investment efficiency?," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2-3), pages 112-131, December.
    9. Beyer, Anne & Cohen, Daniel A. & Lys, Thomas Z. & Walther, Beverly R., 2010. "The financial reporting environment: Review of the recent literature," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2-3), pages 296-343, December.
    10. Juan Pedro Sánchez Ballesta & M. Fuensanta Cutillas Gomariz, 2012. "Financial reporting quality, debt maturity and investment efficiency," Working Papers. Serie EC 2012-07, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
    11. Cutillas Gomariz, Mª Fuensanta & Sánchez Ballesta, Juan Pedro, 2014. "Financial reporting quality, debt maturity and investment efficiency," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 494-506.
    12. Lawrence, Alastair, 2013. "Individual investors and financial disclosure," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 130-147.
    13. Chiraz Ben Ali, 2014. "Corporate Governance, Principal-Principal Agency Conflicts, and Disclosure," Working Papers 2014-125, Department of Research, Ipag Business School.
    14. Hope, Ole-Kristian & Ma, Mark (Shuai) & Thomas, Wayne B., 2013. "Tax avoidance and geographic earnings disclosure," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 170-189.
    15. Hope, Ole-Kristian & Langli, John Christian & Thomas, Wayne B., 2012. "Agency conflicts and auditing in private firms," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 37(7), pages 500-517.

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