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On the Relation between Conservatism in Accounting Standards and Incentives for Earnings Management

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  • QI CHEN
  • THOMAS HEMMER
  • YUN ZHANG

Abstract

ABSTRACT This paper studies the role of conservative accounting standards in alleviating rational yet dysfunctional unobservable earnings manipulation. We show that when accounting numbers serve both the valuation role (in which potential investors use accounting reports to assess a firm's expected future payoff) and the stewardship role (in which current shareholders rely on the same reports to monitor their risk-averse manager), current firm owners have incentives to engage in earnings management. Such manipulation reduces accounting numbers' stewardship value and leads to inferior risk sharing. We then show that risk sharing, and hence contract efficiency, can be improved under a conservative accounting standard where, absent earnings management, accounting earnings represent true economic earnings with a downward bias, compared with under an unbiased standard where, absent earnings management, accounting earnings represent true economic earnings without bias. Copyright University of Chicago on behalf of the Institute of Professional Accounting, 2007.

Suggested Citation

  • Qi Chen & Thomas Hemmer & Yun Zhang, 2007. "On the Relation between Conservatism in Accounting Standards and Incentives for Earnings Management," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(3), pages 541-565, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:joares:v:45:y:2007:i:3:p:541-565
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    Cited by:

    1. Gao, Pingyang, 2013. "A measurement approach to conservatism and earnings management," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 251-268.
    2. Xi Li, 2015. "Accounting Conservatism and the Cost of Capital: An International Analysis," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(5-6), pages 555-582, June.
    3. Armstrong, Christopher S. & Guay, Wayne R. & Weber, Joseph P., 2010. "The role of information and financial reporting in corporate governance and debt contracting," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2-3), pages 179-234, December.
    4. Budde, Jörg, 2013. "Verifiable and Nonverifiable Information in a Two-Period Agency Problem," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 445, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    5. Chen, Hui & Jorgensen, Bjorn, 2018. "Market exit through divestment: the effect of accounting bias on competition," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 64217, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. Langberg, Nisan & Sivaramakrishnan, K., 2008. "Voluntary disclosures and information production by analysts," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 78-100, September.
    7. Joachim Gassen, 2008. "Are stewardship and valuation usefulness compatible or alternative objectives of financial accounting?," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2008-028, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
    8. Rahimah Mohamed Yunos Author_Email: rahim221@johor.uitm.edu.my & Malcolm Smith & Zubaidah Ismail & Syahrul Ahmar Ahmad, 2011. "Inside Concentrated Owners, Board Of Directors And Accounting Conservatism," Annual Summit on Business and Entrepreneurial Studies (ASBES 2011) Proceeding 2011-053-178, Conference Master Resources.
    9. García Lara, Juan Manuel & García Osma, Beatriz & Penalva, Fernando, 2016. "Accounting conservatism and firm investment efficiency," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 221-238.
    10. repec:eee:advacc:v:37:y:2017:i:c:p:140-151 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. repec:eee:reveco:v:49:y:2017:i:c:p:190-210 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Dechow, Patricia & Ge, Weili & Schrand, Catherine, 2010. "Understanding earnings quality: A review of the proxies, their determinants and their consequences," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2-3), pages 344-401, December.
    13. Alfred Wagenhofer, 2009. "Global accounting standards: reality and ambitions," Accounting Research Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 22(1), pages 68-80, July.
    14. Marco Muscettola, 2014. "Probability of Efficiency: Statistical Implications That Lead Firms to Achieve a Minimal and Sufficient ¡°Return-On-Investment¡±," Journal of Management and Strategy, Journal of Management and Strategy, Sciedu Press, vol. 5(4), pages 26-36, November.
    15. Luc Paugam & Olivier Ramond, 2015. "Effect of Impairment-Testing Disclosures on the Cost of Equity Capital," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(5-6), pages 583-618, June.
    16. Beatriz García & Juan M. Garcia Lara & Fenando Penalva, 2010. "Accounting Conservatism and Firm Investment Efficiency," Working Papers 1004, Departament Empresa, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, revised Jan 2010.
    17. repec:eee:jiaata:v:22:y:2013:i:2:p:86-97 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. repec:eee:jaecon:v:63:y:2017:i:2:p:499-512 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Göx, Robert F. & Wagenhofer, Alfred, 2009. "Optimal impairment rules," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 2-16, October.
    20. Kohamed Gomaa & Kiridaran Kanagaretnam & Stuart Mestelman & Mohamed Shehata, 2016. "Test-bedding the Replacement of the Incurred Credit Loss Model with an Expected Credit Loss Model: The Case of Trade Receivables," Department of Economics Working Papers 2016-05, McMaster University.

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