Mandatory Fair Value Accounting and Information Asymmetry: Evidence from the European Real Estate Industry
We examine the effects of mandating the provision of fair value information for long-lived tangible assets on firms' information asymmetry. Specifically, we investigate whether European real estate firms' compulsory adoption of International Accounting Standard 40 (IAS 40; Investment Property), which mandated the provision of investment property fair values in 2005, resulted in reduced information asymmetry across market participants. Using as a control group firms that voluntarily provided these fair values prior to the mandatory adoption of IAS 40, we find that mandatory adoption firms exhibit a larger decline in information asymmetry, as reflected in lower bid-ask spreads. However, we also find that mandatory adoption firms continue to have higher information asymmetry than voluntary adoption firms, which appears partially attributable to the lower reliability of fair values reported by the mandatory adoption firms. Together, this evidence adds to the debate on fair value accounting by demonstrating that common adoption of fair value, even for long-lived tangible assets, under a mandatory reporting regime can reduce, but not necessarily eliminate, information asymmetry differences across firms. This paper was accepted by Stefan Reichelstein, accounting.
Volume (Year): 57 (2011)
Issue (Month): 6 (June)
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