Earnings Management? Erroneous Inferences Based on Earnings Frequency Distributions
ABSTRACT A vast literature following Hayn  and Burgstahler and Dichev  attributed the so-called "discontinuities" in earnings distributions around zero to earnings management. Despite recent evidence that these discontinuities are likely caused by other factors, researchers and teachers continue to point to the shapes of these distributions as evidence of earnings management. We provide three sets of further evidence that these discontinuities are likely caused by factors other than earnings management: (1) we provide, as an example, a detailed analysis of the severe effects of sample selection in a recent study; this study erroneously concludes that the shape of an earnings distribution is evidence of earnings management, (2) we provide a simple explanation for the shape of the earnings distribution that is most often cited as evidence of earnings management; the relation between earnings and prices differs with the magnitude and the sign of earnings, and (3) we provide further examples that support the main point of our paper; evidence beyond the mere shape of a distribution must be brought to bear before researchers can draw conclusions regarding the presence/absence of earnings management. Copyright (c), University of Chicago on behalf of the Accounting Research Center, 2009.
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.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 47 (2009)
Issue (Month): 5 (December)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=0021-8456|
|Order Information:||Web: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/subs.asp?ref=0021-8456|