Debt Covenants and Accounting Conservatism
AbstractABSTRACT Using a sample of over 5,000 debt issues, I test whether firms with more extensive use of covenants in their public debt contracts exhibit timelier recognition of economic losses in accounting earnings. Covenants govern the transfer of decision-making and control rights from shareholders to bondholders when a company approaches financial distress and thereby limit managers' abilities to expropriate bondholder wealth. Covenants are expected to constrain managerial opportunism, however, only if the accounting system recognizes economic losses in earnings in a timely fashion. Thus, the demand for timely loss recognition should increase with a contract's reliance on covenants. Consistent with this conjecture, I find evidence that reliance on covenants in public debt contracts is positively associated with the degree of timely loss recognition. I also find evidence that the presence of prior private debt mitigates this relationship. Copyright (c), University of Chicago on behalf of the Accounting Research Center, 2009.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Journal of Accounting Research.
Volume (Year): 48 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (03)
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- Hornuf, Lars & Engert, Andreas, 2013. "Can Network Effects Impede Optimal Contracting in Debt Securities?," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79867, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
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