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The confounding effect of cost stickiness on conservatism estimates

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  • Banker, Rajiv D.
  • Basu, Sudipta
  • Byzalov, Dmitri
  • Chen, Janice Y.S.

Abstract

Sales decreases affect earnings more than sales increases because of cost stickiness. We hypothesize that this correlated omitted variable constitutes a confounding effect in standard asymmetric timeliness models. Controlling for a piecewise linear effect of sales changes in these models decreases the measured asymmetric timeliness significantly and changes inferences about the average level of conservatism and the extent of cross-sectional variation in conservatism. Validation tests confirm that the asymmetry for sales changes is consistent with sticky costs and is distinct from conditional conservatism. Future empirical research on conditional conservatism should recognize the potential confounding effect of sticky costs.

Suggested Citation

  • Banker, Rajiv D. & Basu, Sudipta & Byzalov, Dmitri & Chen, Janice Y.S., 2016. "The confounding effect of cost stickiness on conservatism estimates," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 203-220.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jaecon:v:61:y:2016:i:1:p:203-220
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jacceco.2015.07.001
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    Cited by:

    1. Ha, Joohyung, 2019. "Agency costs of free cash flow and conditional conservatism," Advances in accounting, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 1-1.
    2. Alastair Lawrence & Richard Sloan & Estelle Sun, 2018. "Why Are Losses Less Persistent Than Profits? Curtailments vs. Conservatism," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 64(2), pages 673-694, February.
    3. Ha, Joohyung & Feng, Mingming, 2018. "Conditional conservatism and labor investment efficiency," Journal of Contemporary Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 143-163.
    4. Jason V. Chen & Itay Kama & Reuven Lehavy, 2019. "A contextual analysis of the impact of managerial expectations on asymmetric cost behavior," Review of Accounting Studies, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 665-693, June.
    5. Fabio B. Gaertner & Asad Kausar & Logan B. Steele, 0. "Negative accounting earnings and gross domestic product," Review of Accounting Studies, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-28.
    6. Urooj Khan & Alvis K. Lo, 2019. "Bank Lending Standards and Borrower Accounting Conservatism," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 65(11), pages 5337-5359, November.
    7. Johnson, E. Scott, 2016. "Do changes in the SG&A ratio provide different information about changes in future earnings, analyst forecast revisions, and stock returns under different circumstances?," Advances in accounting, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 90-98.
    8. Meiting Lu & Yaowen Shan & Sue Wright & Yimeng Yu, 2020. "Operating cash flow asymmetric timeliness in Australia," Accounting and Finance, Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 60(S1), pages 587-627, April.
    9. Manuel Cano-Rodríguez & Manuel Núñez-Nickel, 2015. "Aggregation Bias in Estimates of Conditional Conservatism: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(1-2), pages 51-78, January.
    10. Akram Khalilov & Beatriz Garcia Osma, 2020. "Accounting conservatism and the profitability of corporate insiders," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(3-4), pages 333-364, March.
    11. Andrew B. Jackson & Brian R. Rountree & Konduru Sivaramakrishnan, 2017. "Earnings co-movements and earnings manipulation," Review of Accounting Studies, Springer, vol. 22(3), pages 1340-1365, September.
    12. Rajiv D. Banker & Dmitri Byzalov & Shunlan Fang & Byunghoon Jin, 2020. "Operating asymmetries and non-linear spline correction in discretionary accrual models," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 54(3), pages 803-850, April.
    13. Dmitri Byzalov & Sudipta Basu, 2016. "Conditional conservatism and disaggregated bad news indicators in accrual models," Review of Accounting Studies, Springer, vol. 21(3), pages 859-897, September.
    14. Thomas R. Loy & Sven Hartlieb, 2018. "Have estimates of cost stickiness changed across listing cohorts?," Journal of Management Control: Zeitschrift für Planung und Unternehmenssteuerung, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 161-181, August.
    15. Tingyong Zhong & Fangcheng Sun & Haiyan Zhou & Jeoung Yul Lee, 2020. "Business Strategy, State-Owned Equity and Cost Stickiness: Evidence from Chinese Firms," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(5), pages 1-21, March.
    16. Mohamed Khalil & Aydin Ozkanc & Yilmaz Yildiz, 2020. "Foreign institutional ownership and demand for accounting conservatism: evidence from an emerging market," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 55(1), pages 1-27, July.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Timely loss recognition; Omitted variable bias; Overinvestment;

    JEL classification:

    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • M40 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - General
    • M41 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Accounting

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