Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

The Economic Implications of Corporate Financial Reporting

Contents:

Author Info

  • John R. Graham
  • Campbell R. Harvey
  • Shiva Rajgopal

Abstract

We survey 401 financial executives, and conduct in-depth interviews with an additional 20, to determine the key factors that drive decisions related to reported earnings and voluntary disclosure. The majority of firms view earnings, especially EPS, as the key metric for outsiders, even more so than cash flows. Because of the severe market reaction to missing an earnings target, we find that firms are willing to sacrifice economic value in order to meet a short-run earnings target. The preference for smooth earnings is so strong that 78% of the surveyed executives would give up economic value in exchange for smooth earnings. We find that 55% of managers would avoid initiating a very positive NPV project if it meant falling short of the current quarter's consensus earnings. Missing an earnings target or reporting volatile earnings is thought to reduce the predictability of earnings, which in turn reduces stock price because investors and analysts hate uncertainty. We also find that managers make voluntary disclosures to reduce information risk associated with their stock but try to avoid setting a disclosure precedent that will be difficult to maintain. In general, management's views provide support for stock price motivations for earnings management and voluntary disclosure, but provide only modest evidence in support of other theories of these phenomena (such as debt, political cost and bonus plan based hypotheses).

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w10550.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10550.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: Jun 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Graham, John R., Campbell R. Harvey and Shiva Rajgopal. "The Economic Implications Of Corporate Financial Reporting," Journal of Accounting and Economics, 2005, v40(1-3,Dec), 3-73.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10550

Note: CF AP
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Email:
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords:

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

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.:
as in new window
  1. Jing Liu, 2002. "Equity Valuation Using Multiples," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(1), pages 135-172, 03.
  2. Merton, Robert C., 1987. "A simple model of capital market equilibrium with incomplete information," Working papers 1869-87., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  3. Verrecchia, Robert E., 2001. "Essays on disclosure," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1-3), pages 97-180, December.
  4. Bhushan, Ravi, 1989. "Collection of information about publicly traded firms : Theory and evidence," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(2-3), pages 183-206, July.
  5. David Easley & Maureen O'hara, 2004. "Information and the Cost of Capital," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(4), pages 1553-1583, 08.
  6. Bushee, Brian J. & Matsumoto, Dawn A. & Miller, Gregory S., 2003. "Open versus closed conference calls: the determinants and effects of broadening access to disclosure," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1-3), pages 149-180, January.
  7. DeFond, Mark L. & Park, Chul W., 1997. "Smoothing income in anticipation of future earnings," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 115-139, July.
  8. Maureen O'Hara, 2003. "Presidential Address: Liquidity and Price Discovery," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(4), pages 1335-1354, 08.
  9. Brav, Alon & Graham, John R. & Harvey, Campbell R. & Michaely, Roni, 2005. "Payout policy in the 21st century," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(3), pages 483-527, September.
  10. Nagar, Venky & Nanda, Dhananjay & Wysocki, Peter, 2003. "Discretionary disclosure and stock-based incentives," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1-3), pages 283-309, January.
  11. Degeorge, Francois & Patel, Jayendu & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1999. "Earnings Management to Exceed Thresholds," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 72(1), pages 1-33, January.
  12. Amit Goyal & Pedro Santa-Clara, 2003. "Idiosyncratic Risk Matters!," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(3), pages 975-1008, 06.
  13. Trahan, Emery A. & Gitman, Lawrence J., 1995. "Bridging the theory-practice gap in corporate finance: A survey of chief financial officers," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 73-87.
  14. Skinner, Douglas J., 1997. "Earnings disclosures and stockholder lawsuits," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 249-282, November.
  15. DeAngelo, Linda Elizabeth, 1988. "Managerial competition, information costs, and corporate governance : The use of accounting performance measures in proxy contests," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 3-36, January.
  16. Mark Britten-Jones, 1999. "The Sampling Error in Estimates of Mean-Variance Efficient Portfolio Weights," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(2), pages 655-671, 04.
  17. Bhushan, Ravi, 1989. "Firm characteristics and analyst following," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(2-3), pages 255-274, July.
  18. Dechow, Patricia M., 1994. "Accounting earnings and cash flows as measures of firm performance : The role of accounting accruals," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 3-42, July.
  19. Fields, Thomas D. & Lys, Thomas Z. & Vincent, Linda, 2001. "Empirical research on accounting choice," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1-3), pages 255-307, September.
  20. Farrell, Kathleen A. & Whidbee, David A., 2003. "Impact of firm performance expectations on CEO turnover and replacement decisions," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1-3), pages 165-196, December.
  21. Timothy C. Johnson, 2004. "Forecast Dispersion and the Cross Section of Expected Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(5), pages 1957-1978, October.
  22. Trueman, Brett, 1986. "Why do managers voluntarily release earnings forecasts?," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 53-71, March.
  23. Bartov, Eli & Givoly, Dan & Hayn, Carla, 2002. "The rewards to meeting or beating earnings expectations," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 173-204, June.
  24. Miller, Edward M, 1977. "Risk, Uncertainty, and Divergence of Opinion," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1151-68, September.
  25. Diamond, Douglas W & Verrecchia, Robert E, 1991. " Disclosure, Liquidity, and the Cost of Capital," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(4), pages 1325-59, September.
  26. Karl B. Diether & Christopher J. Malloy & Anna Scherbina, 2002. "Differences of Opinion and the Cross Section of Stock Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(5), pages 2113-2141, October.
  27. Bowen, Robert M. & DuCharme, Larry & Shores, D., 1995. "Stakeholders' implicit claims and accounting method choice," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 255-295, December.
  28. Dechow, Patricia M. & Sloan, Richard G., 1991. "Executive incentives and the horizon problem : An empirical investigation," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 51-89, March.
  29. Shackelford, Douglas A. & Shevlin, Terry, 2001. "Empirical tax research in accounting," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1-3), pages 321-387, September.
  30. Klein, Roger W. & Bawa, Vijay S., 1976. "The effect of estimation risk on optimal portfolio choice," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 215-231, June.
  31. Noe, Christopher F., 1999. "Voluntary disclosures and insider transactions," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 305-326, July.
  32. Aboody, David & Kasznik, Ron, 2000. "CEO stock option awards and the timing of corporate voluntary disclosures," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 73-100, February.
  33. Barry, Christopher B. & Brown, Stephen J., 1985. "Differential Information and Security Market Equilibrium," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(04), pages 407-422, December.
  34. Pourciau, Susan, 1993. "Earnings management and nonroutine executive changes," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1-3), pages 317-336, April.
  35. Pástor, Luboš & Veronesi, Pietro, 2002. "Stock Valuation and Learning about Profitability," CEPR Discussion Papers 3410, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  36. Teoh, Siew Hong & Welch, Ivo & Wong, T. J., 1998. "Earnings management and the underperformance of seasoned equity offerings," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 63-99, October.
  37. Kothari, S. P., 2001. "Capital markets research in accounting," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1-3), pages 105-231, September.
  38. Nelson, Karen K. & Barth, Mary E. & Cram, Donald, 2001. "Accruals and the Prediction of Future Cash Flows," Research Papers 1594r, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  39. Healy, Paul M. & Palepu, Krishna G., 2001. "Information asymmetry, corporate disclosure, and the capital markets: A review of the empirical disclosure literature," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1-3), pages 405-440, September.
  40. Jorion, Philippe, 1985. "International Portfolio Diversification with Estimation Risk," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58(3), pages 259-78, July.
  41. Baruch Lev, 2003. "Corporate Earnings: Facts and Fiction," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(2), pages 27-50, Spring.
  42. Graham, John R. & Harvey, Campbell R., 2001. "The theory and practice of corporate finance: evidence from the field," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2-3), pages 187-243, May.
  43. Brown, Gregory W., 2001. "Managing foreign exchange risk with derivatives," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2-3), pages 401-448, May.
  44. Yihong Xia, 2001. "Learning about Predictability: The Effects of Parameter Uncertainty on Dynamic Asset Allocation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(1), pages 205-246, 02.
  45. Allen, Franklin & Michaely, Roni, 2003. "Payout policy," Handbook of the Economics of Finance, in: G.M. Constantinides & M. Harris & R. M. Stulz (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Finance, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 337-429 Elsevier.
  46. Burgstahler, David & Dichev, Ilia, 1997. "Earnings management to avoid earnings decreases and losses," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 99-126, December.
  47. Brown, Lawrence D. & Ngo Higgins, Huong, 2001. "Managing earnings surprises in the US versus 12 other countries," Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(4-5), pages 373-398.
  48. Murphy, Kevin J. & Zimmerman, Jerold L., 1993. "Financial performance surrounding CEO turnover," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1-3), pages 273-315, April.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10550. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.