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Corporate Earnings: Facts and Fiction

Listed author(s):
  • Baruch Lev
Registered author(s):

    Manipulated earnings played a central role in the slew of corporate scandals which surfaced during the last three years. This article focuses on the vulnerability of earnings to manipulation by managers: it surveys the empirical record of manipulation, their major objectives, and the means of manipulation. It then focuses on the major source of earnings manipulation--the multitude of estimates and subjective judgments underlying the comutation of earnings. The article accordingly concludes with a proposal to curb manipulation by requiring managers to routinely compare key estimates with ex post realizations, and revise earnings in case of large deviations.

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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/089533003765888412
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    Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

    Volume (Year): 17 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 2 (Spring)
    Pages: 27-50

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    Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:17:y:2003:i:2:p:27-50
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/089533003765888412
    Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/jep/
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    1. Guenther, David A. & Young, Danqing, 2000. "The association between financial accounting measures and real economic activity: a multinational study," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 53-72, February.
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    3. Klein, April, 2002. "Audit committee, board of director characteristics, and earnings management," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 375-400, August.
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    7. 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.
    8. repec:bla:joares:v:37:y:1999:i:2:p:353-385 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. 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.
    10. Ijiri, Y., 1989. "Momentum Accounting And Triple-Entry Bookkeeping: Exploring The Dynamic Structure Of Accounting Measurements," GSIA Working Papers 88-89-35, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
    11. Healy, Paul M., 1985. "The effect of bonus schemes on accounting decisions," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1-3), pages 85-107, April.
    12. Mihir A. Desai, 2002. "The Corporate Profit Base, Tax Sheltering Activity, and the Changing Nature of Employee Compensation," NBER Working Papers 8866, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. 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.
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