Is earnings management opportunistic or beneficial? An agency theory perspective
Earnings management has been cast into negative light due to the recent corporate scandals and, therefore, is viewed as detrimental to the firm. Enron and Worldcom represent two of the most egregious cases of opportunistic earnings management that led to the largest bankruptcies in U.S. history. However, some argue that earnings management may be beneficial because it improves the information value of earnings by conveying private information to the stockholders and the public. We offer agency theory as a tool to distinguish between the opportunistic and beneficial uses of earnings management. The empirical evidence suggests that firms where earnings management occurs to a larger (less) extent suffer less (more) agency costs. Moreover, a positive relation is documented between firm value and the extent of earnings management. Taken together, the results reveal that earnings management is, on average, not detrimental.
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.:
- Siew Hong Teoh & Ivo Welch & T.J. Wong, 1998. "Earnings Management and the Long-Run Market Performance of Initial Public Offerings," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(6), pages 1935-1974, December.
- Holthausen, Robert W., 1990. "Accounting method choice : Opportunistic behavior, efficient contracting, and information perspectives," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1-3), pages 207-218, January.
- 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.
- 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.
- Lang, Larry H P & Stulz, Rene M, 1994.
"Tobin's q, Corporate Diversification, and Firm Performance,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(6), pages 1248-1280, December.
- Larry H.P. Lang & Rene M. Stulz, 1993. "Tobin's Q, Corporate Diversification and Firm Performance," NBER Working Papers 4376, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Krishnaswami, Sudha & Subramaniam, Venkat, 1999. "Information asymmetry, valuation, and the corporate spin-off decision," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 73-112, July.
- Xie, Biao & Davidson, Wallace III & DaDalt, Peter J., 2003. "Earnings management and corporate governance: the role of the board and the audit committee," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 295-316, June.
- Anil Arya & Shyam Sunder & Jonathan Glover, 2002. "Are Unmanaged Earnings Always Better for Shareholders?," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm295, Yale School of Management, revised 01 Feb 2003.
- Morck, Randall & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1988. "Management ownership and market valuation : An empirical analysis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1-2), pages 293-315, January.
- Subramanyam, K. R., 1996. "The pricing of discretionary accruals," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1-3), pages 249-281, October.
- Morck, Randall & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1988. "Management ownership and market valuation," Scholarly Articles 29407535, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- 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.
- Warfield, Terry D. & Wild, John J. & Wild, Kenneth L., 1995. "Managerial ownership, accounting choices, and informativeness of earnings," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 61-91, July.
- Jiraporn, Pornsit & Kim, Young Sang & Davidson, Wallace N. & Singh, Manohar, 2006. "Corporate governance, shareholder rights and firm diversification: An empirical analysis," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 947-963, March.
- Holthausen, Robert W. & Larcker, David F. & Sloan, Richard G., 1995. "Annual bonus schemes and the manipulation of earnings," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 29-74, February.
- Yermack, David, 1996. "Higher market valuation of companies with a small board of directors," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 185-211, February.
- Erickson, Merle & Wang, Shiing-wu, 1999. "Earnings management by acquiring firms in stock for stock mergers," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 149-176, April.
- Kee H. Chung & Stephen W. Pruitt, 1994. "A Simple Approximation of Tobin's q," Financial Management, Financial Management Association, vol. 23(3), Fall.
- repec:bla:joares:v:29:y:1991:i:2:p:193-228 is not listed on IDEAS Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)