Terrorist attacks and company financial numbers: Evidence on earnings management and value relevance from Madrid, London and Istanbul
This study focuses on three major terrorist attacks that took place in Madrid on 11 March 2004, in London on 7 July 2005, and in Istanbul on 27 July 2008. It examines firms that belong to banking, insurance and leisure sectors and assesses the earnings management potential and the value relevance of reported financial numbers before and after the terrorist attack. The study shows that, in general, a terrorist attack is likely to increase the scope for earnings management and reduce the value relevance of reported financial numbers. The terrorist attacks in Madrid and Istanbul have led to higher earnings management potential and less value relevant financial numbers. In contrast, the UK terrorist attack has not increased the potential for earnings management, while the value relevance of reported financial numbers has increased. The findings indicate that the insurance industry and the leisure industry are more inclined to use earnings management after the attacks. Comparing the common-law and code-law countries after the attack, the study shows that the UK displays lower discretionary accruals and higher value relevance of reported financial numbers. It is noteworthy that, after the attacks, the UK exhibits higher profitability, leverage and liquidity compared to Spain and Turkey.
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