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Does board governance improve the quality of accounting earnings?

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  • Raghavan J. Iyengar
  • Judy Land
  • Ernest M. Zampelli
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    Abstract

    Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the contention that a strengthening of corporate governance mechanisms would result in the improved relevance and reliability of financial statements. Design/methodology/approach – Using pooled ordinary least squares regression, the paper analyse the quality of reported earnings for a sample of firms over the 1998-2002 time period. Findings – The findings show negative and statistically significant associations between reported earnings quality and the proportion of CEO incentive pay and firm's growth opportunities. It is also found that earnings quality is positively and significantly related to the existence of an orderly CEO transition process. However, board independence does not seem to be associated with earnings quality. Research limitations/implications – Since the sample of firms is from the 1998 to 2002 period, consistent with the paper's motivation, the results may not generalize to the more recent time period. Practical implications – The results provide support for the argument that the current structure of executive pay does adversely impact the quality of reported earnings and hence provides a rationale for closer scrutiny of executive pay by regulatory bodies. Additionally, the findings suggest that the emphasis on board independence as an effective monitoring device may be misplaced. Originality/value – Unlike prior studies, the paper's hypotheses are derived from an explicit agency theoretic optimization model of managerial decision making. The paper uses the Ball and Shivakumar model for estimating abnormal accruals unlike previous analyses that relied more heavily on the Jones model. The paper also adds to past studies of the relationship between corporate governance and earnings quality and the role of executive compensation.

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    File URL: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?issn=1030-9616&volume=23&issue=1&articleid=1875559&show=abstract
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal Accounting Research Journal.

    Volume (Year): 23 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 1 (July)
    Pages: 49-68

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    Handle: RePEc:eme:arjpps:v:23:y:2010:i:1:p:49-68

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    Web page: http://www.emeraldinsight.com

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    Postal: Emerald Group Publishing, Howard House, Wagon Lane, Bingley, BD16 1WA, UK
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    Web: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/arj.htm

    Related research

    Keywords: Accounting; Corporate governance; Earnings; Financial reporting;

    References

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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    1. Ryan Davidson & Jenny Goodwin-Stewart & Pamela Kent, 2005. "Internal governance structures and earnings management," Accounting and Finance, Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 45(2), pages 241-267.
    2. Yermack, David, 1996. "Higher market valuation of companies with a small board of directors," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 185-211, February.
    3. Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1996. "A Survey of Corporate Governance," NBER Working Papers 5554, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Vafeas, Nikos, 2000. "Board structure and the informativeness of earnings," Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 139-160, June.
    5. Kanagaretnam, Kiridaran & Lobo, Gerald J. & Whalen, Dennis J., 2007. "Does good corporate governance reduce information asymmetry around quarterly earnings announcements?," Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 497-522.
    6. Daniel Bergstresser & Thomas Philippon, 2003. "CEO incentives and earnings management," Proceedings 862, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    7. Agrawal, Anup & Chadha, Sahiba, 2005. "Corporate Governance and Accounting Scandals," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(2), pages 371-406, October.
    8. Roberta Romano, 2004. "The Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Making of Quack Corporate Governance," Yale School of Management Working Papers amz2653, Yale School of Management, revised 01 Jul 2005.
    9. Cornett, Marcia Millon & Marcus, Alan J. & Tehranian, Hassan, 2008. "Corporate governance and pay-for-performance: The impact of earnings management," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 357-373, February.
    10. Fama, Eugene F & Jensen, Michael C, 1983. "Separation of Ownership and Control," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 301-25, June.
    11. Brickley, James A. & Coles, Jeffrey L. & Jarrell, Gregg, 1997. "Leadership structure: Separating the CEO and Chairman of the Board," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 189-220, June.
    12. Collins, Daniel W. & Hribar, Paul, 2000. "Earnings-based and accrual-based market anomalies: one effect or two?," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 101-123, February.
    13. Scott Whisenant & Srinivasan Sankaraguruswamy & K. Raghunandan, 2003. "Evidence on the Joint Determination of Audit and Non-Audit Fees," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(4), pages 721-744, 09.
    14. Gary K. Meek & Ramesh P. Rao & Christopher J. Skousen, 2007. "Evidence on factors affecting the relationship between CEO stock option compensation and earnings management," Review of Accounting and Finance, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 6(3), pages 304-323, August.
    15. Ray Ball & Lakshmanan Shivakumar, 2006. "The Role of Accruals in Asymmetrically Timely Gain and Loss Recognition," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(2), pages 207-242, 05.
    16. Mark C. Anderson & Rajiv D. Banker & Sury Ravindran, 2000. "Executive Compensation in the Information Technology Industry," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 46(4), pages 530-547, April.
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