Balance sheet versus earnings conservatism in Europe
In this study we extend prior research on the international analysis of accounting conservatism (Joos and Lang, 1994; Ball et al., 2000; Giner and Rees, 2001), by examining the level of accounting conservatism across eight European countries (United Kingdom, Germany, France, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and Belgium), and assessing the statistical significance of the differences among them. The definitions of conservatism that we use are, on the one hand, the Feltham and Ohlson (1995) definition, which implies a persistent understatement of book value of shareholders' equity (balance sheet conservatism). On the other hand, we use the one proposed by Basu (1997), that is, a timelier recognition of bad news in earnings relative to good news (earnings conservatism). We also address the possible scale problems of the models used to measure balance sheet conservatism. Finally, we check whether our comparative results could be influenced by a different sample composition in each country. Our results show that there are both balance sheet and earnings conservatism practices in all countries under study. In addition, while continental countries show larger balance sheet conservatism, differences in earnings conservative practices between countries are not that pronounced, although they tend to be larger in the UK. We also find that the existence of balance sheet conservative practices is associated with reduced levels of earnings conservatism, which is consistent with the results in Pope and Walker (2003).
Volume (Year): 13 (2004)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.tandfonline.com/REAR20|
|Order Information:||Web: http://www.tandfonline.com/pricing/journal/REAR20|
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.:
- Wendy Beekes & Peter Pope & Steven Young, 2004. "The Link Between Earnings Timeliness, Earnings Conservatism and Board Composition: evidence from the UK," Corporate Governance: An International Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(1), pages 47-59, 01.
- Holthausen, Robert W. & Watts, Ross L., 2001. "The relevance of the value-relevance literature for financial accounting standard setting," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1-3), pages 3-75, September.
- Kothari, S. P. & Zimmerman, Jerold L., 1995. "Price and return models," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 155-192, September.
- Ball, Ray & Robin, Ashok & Wu, Joanna Shuang, 2003. "Incentives versus standards: properties of accounting income in four East Asian countries," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1-3), pages 235-270, December.
- Leuz, Christian & Nanda, Dhananjay & Wysocki, Peter D., 2003. "Earnings management and investor protection: an international comparison," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 505-527, September.
- Kumar Sivakumar & Gregory Waymire, 2003. "Enforceable Accounting Rules and Income Measurement by Early 20th Century Railroads," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(2), pages 397-432, 05.
- Ivana Raonic & Stuart McLeay & Ioannis Asimakopoulos, 2004. "The Timeliness of Income Recognition by European Companies: An Analysis of Institutional and Market Complexity," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(1-2), pages 115-148.
- Easton, Peter D. & Harris, Trevor S. & Ohlson, James A., 1992. "Aggregate accounting earnings can explain most of security returns : The case of long return intervals," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2-3), pages 119-142, August.
- Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer, 1998.
"Corporate Ownership Around the World,"
NBER Working Papers
6625, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 1998. "Corporate Ownership Around the World," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1840, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Beaver, William & Lambert, Richard & Morse, Dale, 1980. "The information content of security prices," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 3-28, March.
- Smith, Clifford Jr. & Watts, Ross L., 1992.
"The investment opportunity set and corporate financing, dividend, and compensation policies,"
Journal of Financial Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 263-292, December.
- Smith, C.W. & Watts, R.L., 1992. "The Investment Oppotunity set and Corporate Financing, Dividend and Compensation Policies," Papers 92-02, Rochester, Business - Financial Research and Policy Studies.
- Ball, Ray & Kothari, S. P. & Robin, Ashok, 2000. "The effect of international institutional factors on properties of accounting earnings," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 1-51, February.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:euract:v:13:y:2004:i:2:p:261-292. 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: (Michael McNulty)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.