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What is the Relationship Between REIT Governance and Earnings Management?

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  • Paul Anglin
  • Robert Edelstein
  • Yanmin Gao
  • Desmond Tsang

Abstract

The empirical corporate finance literature claims that better corporate governance constrains earnings management, while others argue that the unique legal and reporting structure of REITs may reduce the need for such internal corporate governance. Using a sample of publicly traded REITs for the 2004–2008 time period, we examine the relationships amongst corporate governance, accruals earnings management, manipulation of Funds from Operations (FFO), and real earnings management. We find that corporate governance quality is unrelated to accruals earnings management and manipulation of FFO. At first glance, the findings suggest that managers need less internal oversight because of the more transparent reporting structure of REITs. However, we document that REITs engage in significant real activities manipulation for earnings management purposes. Our empirical findings further show that corporate governance characteristics, in particular board size, independence, number of board meetings and audit committee financial expertise, are essential for constraining such activities. Finally, by focusing on a subset of REITs that act in ways which previous research has identified as more susceptible to earnings management activities, we demonstrate that good corporate governance effectively reduces accruals earnings management and manipulation of FFO for these REITs. Overall, our findings indicate that, despite the unique legal and reporting structure, REITs engage in certain forms of earnings management, and that the ability for REITs to manipulate earnings is reduced when corporate governance is more effective. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Anglin & Robert Edelstein & Yanmin Gao & Desmond Tsang, 2013. "What is the Relationship Between REIT Governance and Earnings Management?," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 47(3), pages 538-563, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jrefec:v:47:y:2013:i:3:p:538-563
    DOI: 10.1007/s11146-012-9367-y
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    2. Hussein A. Abdou & Nouran N. Ellelly & Ahmed A. Elamer & Khaled Hussainey & Hassan Yazdifar, 2021. "Corporate governance and earnings management nexus: Evidence from the UK and Egypt using neural networks," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(4), pages 6281-6311, October.
    3. Siew Bee Thai & Ming Ming Lai, 2021. "An Examination of Prevalence of Earnings Management in Asia REITs," International Journal of Business and Management, Canadian Center of Science and Education, vol. 14(5), pages 1-75, July.
    4. Bilal, & Chen, Songsheng & Komal, Bushra, 2018. "Audit committee financial expertise and earnings quality: A meta-analysis," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 253-270.
    5. Elizabeth Devos & Erik Devos & He Li & Desmond Tsang, 2022. "Operating Lease as Alternative Financing for REITs: a Viable Strategy or a Sign of Trouble?," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 65(2), pages 153-180, August.
    6. Daoju Peng & Jianfu Shen & Simon Yu Kit Fung & Eddie C. M. Hui & Kwokyuen Fan, 2024. "The Valuation Effect and Consequences of Clawback Adoption in Real Estate Investment Trusts," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 68(2), pages 274-317, February.
    7. Harman Preet Singh & Hilal Nafil Alhulail, 2023. "Information Technology Governance and Corporate Boards’ Relationship with Companies’ Performance and Earnings Management: A Longitudinal Approach," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 15(8), pages 1-24, April.
    8. Cheung, William Mingyan & Chung, Richard & Fung, Scott, 2015. "The effects of stock liquidity on firm value and corporate governance: Endogeneity and the REIT experiment," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 211-231.
    9. Xiaoying Deng & Seow Eng Ong, 2018. "Real Earnings Management, Liquidity Risk and REITs SEO Dynamics," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 56(3), pages 410-442, April.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT); Corporate governance; Earnings management; FFO; JEL Classifications; G32; G34; M40;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance
    • M40 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - General

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