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Should Intangibles Be Measured: What Are the Economic Trade-Offs?




We investigate whether a firm's intangible investments should be measured and separated from operating expenses. We find that the information extracted from accounting reports of investments and earnings is different when intangibles are measured and identified separately from operating expenses than when intangibles are left commingled with operating expenses. This difference in the market's information causes a change in the behavior of market prices, inducing changes in the firm's investments and cash flows. Thus, from a "real effects" perspective, measuring intangibles is not unambiguously desirable. We identify the conditions under which providing information on intangibles may be desirable. This study also shows the inadequacy of statistical associations between accounting numbers and prices as a basis for evaluating the desirability of measuring intangible investments. We show that the measurement of intangibles alters the very distribution of cash flows about which the measurement regime is seeking to provide information. Copyright University of Chicago on behalf of the Institute of Professional Accounting, 2004.

Suggested Citation

  • Chandra Kanodia & Haresh Sapra & Raghu Venugopalan, 2004. "Should Intangibles Be Measured: What Are the Economic Trade-Offs?," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(1), pages 89-120, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:joares:v:42:y:2004:i:1:p:89-120

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    Cited by:

    1. Alfredo Martín-Oliver & Vicente Salas-Fumas, 2007. "How do intangible assets create economic value? an application to banks," Working Papers 0730, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
    2. Robinson, Leslie A. & Sansing, Richard, 2008. "The effect of "invisible" tax preferences on investment and tax preference measures," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2-3), pages 389-404, December.
    3. Elchanan Ben-Porath & Eddie Dekel & Barton L. Lipman, 2014. "Disclosure and Choice," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2017-002, Boston University - Department of Economics, revised Jan 2017.
    4. Dye, Ronald A. & Sridhar, Sri S., 2008. "A positive theory of flexibility in accounting standards," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2-3), pages 312-333, December.
    5. R. G. Walker, 2009. "Discussion of Lev, Radhakrishnan and Zhang," Abacus, Accounting Foundation, University of Sydney, vol. 45(3), pages 299-311.
    6. P. Astolfi & Luc Paugam & Olivier Ramond, 2012. "Purchase Price Allocations: Do they Matter?," Post-Print hal-00934973, HAL.
    7. Pierre Astolfi & Luc Paugam & Olivier Ramond, 2012. "Purchase Price Allocations: Do they Matter?," Post-Print halshs-00671611, HAL.
    8. Gao, Pingyang, 2008. "Disclosure Quality, Cost of Capital, and Investors’ Welfare," MPRA Paper 9478, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Jun 2008.
    9. Jeremy Bertomeu & Edwige Cheynel, 2016. "Disclosure and the Cost of Capital: A Survey of the Theoretical Literature," Abacus, Accounting Foundation, University of Sydney, vol. 52(2), pages 221-258, June.
    10. Paugam, Luc, 2011. "Valorisation et reporting du goodwill : enjeux théoriques et empiriques," Economics Thesis from University Paris Dauphine, Paris Dauphine University, number 123456789/8007 edited by Casta, Jean-François, January.
    11. Luc Paugam & Pierre Astolfi & Olivier Ramond, 2015. "Accounting for business combinations: Do purchase price allocations matter?," Post-Print hal-01277376, HAL.
    12. repec:dau:papers:123456789/9228 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Joseph P.H. Fan & Feng Guan & Zengquan Li & Yong George Yang, 2014. "Relationship Networks and Earnings Informativeness: Evidence from Corruption Cases," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(7-8), pages 831-866, September.
    14. Lähtinen, Katja & Toppinen, Anne, 2008. "Financial performance in Finnish large- and medium-sized sawmills: The effects of value-added creation and cost-efficiency seeking," Journal of Forest Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 289-305, November.

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