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CEO compensation and earnings management: Does gender really matters?

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  • Harris, Oneil
  • Karl, J. Bradley
  • Lawrence, Ericka

Abstract

A number of earlier studies suggest that earnings quality improves when females are in senior management because of gender differences in risk-taking and ethical attitude. We extend this literature by using gender socialization theory and agency theory to examine the earnings management behavior of female Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) conditional on their equity incentives. We show that female CEOs do not necessarily reduce earnings management. At lower levels of equity-based compensation, female CEOs manipulate earnings to a lesser degree than their male counterparts. However, at higher levels of equity-based compensation, female and male CEOs exhibit very similar earnings management behaviors. Thus, given high equity incentives, all CEOs – regardless of gender – undertake a greater degree of earnings management activities. Consequently, there is little evidence that the gender of a CEO mitigates the propensity to increase the value of equity-based compensation by manipulating earnings.

Suggested Citation

  • Harris, Oneil & Karl, J. Bradley & Lawrence, Ericka, 2019. "CEO compensation and earnings management: Does gender really matters?," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 1-14.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jbrese:v:98:y:2019:i:c:p:1-14
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2019.01.013
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