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The Economics of Fraudulent Accounting

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  • Simi Kedia
  • Thomas Philippon

Abstract

We argue that earnings management and fraudulent accounting have important economic consequences. In a model where the costs of earnings management are endogenous, we show that in equilibrium, low-productivity firms hire and invest too much in order to pool with high productivity firms. This behavior distorts the allocation of economic resources in the economy. We test the predictions of the model using firm-level data. We show that during periods of suspicious accounting, firms hire and invest excessively, while managers exercise options. When the misreporting is detected, firms shed labor and capital and productivity improves. Our firm-level results hold both before and after the market crash of 2000. In the aggregate, our model provides a novel explanation for periods of jobless and investment-less growth. The Author 2007. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Society for Financial Studies. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org., Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Simi Kedia & Thomas Philippon, 2009. "The Economics of Fraudulent Accounting," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(6), pages 2169-2199, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:22:y:2009:i:6:p:2169-2199
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/rfs/hhm016
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bergstresser, Daniel & Philippon, Thomas, 2006. "CEO incentives and earnings management," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 511-529, June.
    2. Philippon, Thomas, 2006. "Corporate governance over the business cycle," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(11), pages 2117-2141, November.
    3. Dechow, Patricia M. & Kothari, S. P. & L. Watts, Ross, 1998. "The relation between earnings and cash flows," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 133-168, May.
    4. Eli Ofek & David Yermack, 2000. "Taking Stock: Equity-Based Compensation and the Evolution of Managerial Ownership," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(3), pages 1367-1384, June.
    5. Ilan Guttman & Ohad Kadan & Eugene Kandel, 2003. "Adding the Noise: A Theory of Compensation-Driven Earnings Management," Discussion Paper Series dp355, The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E0 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General
    • G3 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance

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