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Conservatism Correction for the Market-To-Book Ratio and Tobin's q

  • Maureen McNichols
  • Madhav V. Rajan
  • Stefan Reichelstein
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    We decompose the market-to-book ratio into two additive components: a conservatism correction factor and a future-to-book ratio. The conservatism correction factor exceeds the benchmark value of one whenever the accounting for past transactions has been subject to an (unconditional) conservatism bias. The observed history of a firm’s past investments allows us to calculate the magnitude of its conservatism correction factor, resulting in an average value that is about two-thirds of the overall market-to-book ratio. We demonstrate that our measure of Tobin’s q, obtained as the market-to-book ratio divided by the conservatism correction factor, has greater explanatory power in predicting future investments than the market-to-book ratio by itself. Our model analysis derives a number of structural properties of the conservatism correction factor, including its sensitivity to growth in past investments, the percentage of investments in intangibles, and the firm’s cost of capital. We provide empirical support for these hypothesized structural properties.

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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2014/wp-cesifo-2014-02/cesifo1_wp4626.pdf
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    Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 4626.

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    Date of creation: 2014
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    Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4626
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    1. Basu, Sudipta, 1997. "The conservatism principle and the asymmetric timeliness of earnings," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 3-37, December.
    2. Timothy Erickson & Toni M. Whited, 2000. "Measurement Error and the Relationship between Investment and q," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 1027-1057, October.
    3. Malcolm Baker & Jeremy C. Stein & Jeffrey Wurgler, 2003. "When Does The Market Matter? Stock Prices And The Investment Of Equity-Dependent Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 969-1005, August.
    4. Mitchell A. Petersen, 2009. "Estimating Standard Errors in Finance Panel Data Sets: Comparing Approaches," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(1), pages 435-480, January.
    5. Fama, Eugene F & French, Kenneth R, 1995. " Size and Book-to-Market Factors in Earnings and Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(1), pages 131-55, March.
    6. Vuong, Quang H, 1989. "Likelihood Ratio Tests for Model Selection and Non-nested Hypotheses," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 307-33, March.
    7. STEPHEN H. PENMAN & SCOTT A. RICHARDSON & İREM TUNA, 2007. "The Book-to-Price Effect in Stock Returns: Accounting for Leverage," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(2), pages 427-467, 05.
    8. Joshua D. Rauh, 2006. "Investment and Financing Constraints: Evidence from the Funding of Corporate Pension Plans," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(1), pages 33-71, 02.
    9. Zhang, Xiao-Jun, 2000. "Conservative accounting and equity valuation," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 125-149, February.
    10. Madhav V. Rajan & Stefan Reichelstein, 2009. "Depreciation Rules and the Relation between Marginal and Historical Cost," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(3), pages 823-865, 06.
    11. Tobin, James, 1969. "A General Equilibrium Approach to Monetary Theory," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 1(1), pages 15-29, February.
    12. Alexander Nezlobin, 2012. "Accrual Accounting, Informational Sufficiency, and Equity Valuation," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(1), pages 233-273, 03.
    13. Rogerson, William P, 1997. "Intertemporal Cost Allocation and Managerial Investment Incentives: A Theory Explaining the Use of Economic Value Added as a Performance Measure," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(4), pages 770-95, August.
    14. William P. Rogerson, 2008. "Intertemporal Cost Allocation and Investment Decisions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(5), pages 931-950, October.
    15. Lev, Baruch & Sougiannis, Theodore, 1996. "The capitalization, amortization, and value-relevance of R&D," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 107-138, February.
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