An Investigation of Earnings Management Through Marketing Actions
Prior research hypothesizes managers use "real actions," including the reduction of discretionary expenditures, to manage earnings to meet or beat key benchmarks. This paper examines this hypothesis by testing how different types of marketing expenditures are used to boost earnings for a durable commodity consumer product that can be easily stockpiled by end consumers. Combining supermarket scanner data with firm-level financial data, we find evidence that differs from prior literature. Instead of reducing expenditures to boost earnings, soup manufacturers roughly double the frequency and change the mix of marketing promotions (price discounts, feature advertisements, and aisle displays) at the fiscal quarter-end when they have greater incentive to boost earnings. Our results confirm managers' stated willingness to sacrifice long-term value in order to smooth earnings and their stated preference to use real actions to boost earnings to meet different types of earnings benchmarks. We estimate that marketing actions can be used to boost quarterly net income by up to 5% depending on the depth and duration of promotion. However, there is a price to pay, with the cost in the following period being approximately 7.5% of quarterly net income. Finally, a unique aspect of the research setting allows tests of who is responsible for the earnings management. Although firms appear unable to increase the frequency of aisle display promotions in the short run, they can reallocate these promotions within their portfolio of brands. Results show firms shifting display promotions away from smaller revenue brands toward larger ones following periods of poor financial performance. This indicates the behavior is determined by parties above brand managers in the firm. These findings are consistent with firms engaging in real earnings management and suggest that effects on subsequent reporting periods and competitor behavior are greater than previously documented. This paper was accepted by Stefan Reichelstein, accounting.
Volume (Year): 57 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: 7240 Parkway Drive, Suite 300, Hanover, MD 21076 USA|
Web page: http://www.informs.org/
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- Fudenberg, Drew & Tirole, Jean, 1994.
"A Theory of Income and Dividend Smoothing Based on Incumbency Rents,"
IDEI Working Papers
34, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
- Fudenberg, Drew & Tirole, Jean, 1995. "A Theory of Income and Dividend Smoothing Based on Incumbency Rents," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(1), pages 75-93, February.
- Tirole, Jean & Fudenberg, Drew, 1995. "A Theory of Income and Dividend Smoothing Based on Incumbency Rents," Scholarly Articles 3160494, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Burgstahler, David & Dichev, Ilia, 1997. "Earnings management to avoid earnings decreases and losses," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 99-126, December.
- Healy, Paul M., 1985. "The effect of bonus schemes on accounting decisions," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1-3), pages 85-107, April.
- 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.
- François Degeorge & Jayendu Patel & Richard Zeckhauser, 1997.
"Earnings Management to Exceed Thresholds,"
- Graham, John R. & Harvey, Campbell R. & Rajgopal, Shiva, 2005.
"The economic implications of corporate financial reporting,"
Journal of Accounting and Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 40(1-3), pages 3-73, December.
- John R. Graham & Campbell R. Harvey & Shiva Rajgopal, 2004. "The Economic Implications of Corporate Financial Reporting," NBER Working Papers 10550, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Natalie Mizik & Robert Jacobson, 2007. "Myopic Marketing Management: Evidence of the Phenomenon and Its Long-Term Performance Consequences in the SEO Context," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 26(3), pages 361-379, 05-06.
- Kamel Jedidi & Carl F. Mela & Sunil Gupta, 1999. "Managing Advertising and Promotion for Long-Run Profitability," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 18(1), pages 1-22.
- Bartov, Eli & Givoly, Dan & Hayn, Carla, 2002. "The rewards to meeting or beating earnings expectations," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 173-204, June.
- Jeremy C. Stein, 1989. "Efficient Capital Markets, Inefficient Firms: A Model of Myopic Corporate Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(4), pages 655-669.
- Cindy Durtschi & Peter Easton, 2005. "Earnings Management? The Shapes of the Frequency Distributions of Earnings Metrics Are Not Evidence Ipso Facto," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(4), pages 557-592, 09.
- Roychowdhury, Sugata, 2006. "Earnings management through real activities manipulation," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 335-370, December.
- Harald J. van Heerde & Peter S. H. Leeflang & Dick R. Wittink, 2004. "Decomposing the Sales Promotion Bump with Store Data," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 23(3), pages 317-334, December.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:57:y:2011:i:1:p:72-92. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mirko Janc)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.