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The negative impact of R&D capitalization: A value relevance approach


  • Anne Cazavan-Jeny
  • Thomas Jeanjean


Accounting for R&D costs is an open issue. SFAS N°2 mandates that all R&D costs must be immediately expensed. IAS 38 requires capitalization of R&D costs if they meet certain criteria. Recent research papers show the value relevance of capitalized R&D. We test the value relevance of R&D reporting in a sample of 197 French firms between 1993 and 2002. The French context provides an interesting field for R&D value relevance studies because both accounting treatments of R&D costs (expensing and capitalization) are allowed. Unlike previous studies, we find that capitalized R&D is negatively associated with stock prices and returns. This negative coefficient on capitalized R&D implies that investors are concerned with and react negatively to capitalization of R&D. We also find that the firms choosing to capitalize (successful) R&D are smaller, more highly leveraged, less profitable and have less growth opportunities. Taking into account these characteristics, our robustness checks confirm that capitalized R&D is not associated with higher prices and is related to lower returns.

Suggested Citation

  • Anne Cazavan-Jeny & Thomas Jeanjean, 2006. "The negative impact of R&D capitalization: A value relevance approach," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(1), pages 37-61.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:euract:v:15:y:2006:i:1:p:37-61
    DOI: 10.1080/09638180500510384

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    Cited by:

    1. Tami Dinh Thi & Wolfgang Schultze, 2011. "Capitalizing research & development and ‘other information’: the incremental information content of accruals versus cash flows," Metrika: International Journal for Theoretical and Applied Statistics, Springer, vol. 22(3), pages 241-278, November.
    2. Corinne Bessieux-Ollier & Marie Chavent & Vanessa Kuentz & Elisabeth Walliser, 2012. "The mandatory adoption of IFRS on intangibles: upheaval or inertia? The case of France," International Journal of Accounting, Auditing and Performance Evaluation, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 8(1), pages 91-113.
    3. C. Ollier Bessieux & Marie Chavent & V. Kuentz & E. Walliser, 2009. "Les effets de l'adoption obligatoire des normes IFRS sur les incorporels : le cas de la France," Post-Print halshs-00458968, HAL.
    4. Riccardo Cimini & Alessandro Gaetano & Alessandra Pagani, 2014. "The relation between R&D accounting treatment and the risk of the firm: Evidence from the Italian market," FINANCIAL REPORTING, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2014(1), pages 33-54.
    5. Gaëlle Lenormand & Lionel Touchais, 2008. "La pertinence des actifs incorporels avec les IFRS," Revue Finance Contrôle Stratégie,, vol. 11(2), pages 173-201, June.
    6. Jean-Michel Sahut & Sandrine Boulerne & Frédéric Teulon, 2011. "Do IFRS provide better information about intangibles in Europe?," Review of Accounting and Finance, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 10(3), pages 267-290, August.
    7. repec:dau:papers:123456789/2641 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Bischof, Jannis & Ebert, Michael, 2007. "Inconsistent measurement and disclosure of non-contingent financial derivatives under IFRS : a behavioral perspective," Papers 07-02, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.
    9. Mustafa Ciftci & Masako Darrough, 2015. "What Explains the Valuation Difference between Intangible-intensive Profit and Loss Firms?," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(1-2), pages 138-166, January.
    10. Jean François Casta & Olivier Ramond & Lionel Escaffre, 2005. "Intangibles Investments and Accounting Numbers Usefulness : an Empirical Study of the European Stock Market," Post-Print hal-00769333, HAL.
    11. Jean-François Casta & Olivier Ramond & Lionel Escaffre, 2008. "Economic Properties of Recognized Intangibles under Domestic Accounting Standards: Evidence from European Capital Markets," Post-Print halshs-00681592, HAL.
    12. Guillaume Dumas, 2012. "Le Comportement Myopique D'Investissement En R&D : Une Realite En France ?," Post-Print hal-00690955, HAL.
    13. Brigitte Eierle & Simone Wencki, 2016. "The determinants of capitalising development costs in private companies: evidence from Germany," Journal of Business Economics, Springer, vol. 86(3), pages 259-300, April.
    14. Constant Djama & Guillaume Dumas & Isabelle Martinez, 2011. "L'innovation : une incitation à la gestion des résultats ?," Post-Print hal-00650418, HAL.
    15. Ugo Lassini & Andrea Lionzo & Francesca Rossignoli, 2016. "Does business model affect accounting choices? An empirical analysis of European listed companies," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 20(2), pages 229-260, June.
    16. repec:dau:papers:123456789/2248 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Duarte Atoche Teresa & Pérez López José Ángel & Camúñez Ruíz José Antonio, 2012. "Información sobre I+D y valoración de empresas," Contaduría y Administración, Accounting and Management, vol. 57(4), pages 107-136, octubre-d.
    18. Constant Djama & Guillaume Dumas & Isabelle Martinez, 2013. "Entreprises innovantes et gestion des résultats comptables," Post-Print hal-01002932, HAL.
    19. Shah, Syed Zulfiqar Ali & Liang, Shuang & Akbar, Saeed, 2013. "International Financial Reporting Standards and the value relevance of R&D expenditures: Pre and post IFRS analysis," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 158-169.

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