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Can earnings manipulation create value?

  • Anton Miglo


    (University of Guelph, Department of Economics)

Existing literature usually considers earnings manipulation to be a negative social phenomenon. We argue that earnings manipulation can be a part of the equilibrium relationships between firm's ’insiders and outsiders. We consider an optimal contract between an entrepreneur and an investor where the entrepreneur is subject to a double moral hazard problem (one being the choice of production effort and the other being intertemporal substitution, which consists of transferring cash flows between periods). Investment and production effort may be below socially optimal levels because the entrepreneur cannot entirely capture the results of his effort. The opportunity to manipulate earnings protects the entrepreneur against the risk of a low payoff when the results of production are low. Ex-ante, this provides an incentive for the entrepreneur to increase his level of effort and invest efficiently.

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Paper provided by University of Guelph, Department of Economics and Finance in its series Working Papers with number 0803.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:gue:guelph:2008-3
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  1. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 1994. "What Do We Know About Capital Structure? Some Evidence from International Data," NBER Working Papers 4875, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Steven N. Kaplan & Per Stromberg, 2000. "Financial Contracting Theory Meets the Real World: An Empirical Analysis of Venture Capital Contracts," NBER Working Papers 7660, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Degeorge, Francois & Patel, Jayendu & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1999. "Earnings Management to Exceed Thresholds," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 72(1), pages 1-33, January.
  4. Burgstahler, David & Dichev, Ilia, 1997. "Earnings management to avoid earnings decreases and losses," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 99-126, December.
  5. Roychowdhury, Sugata, 2006. "Earnings management through real activities manipulation," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 335-370, December.
  6. Francesca Cornelli & Oved Yosha, 2003. "Stage Financing and the Role of Convertible Securities," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(1), pages 1-32, January.
  7. Michael C. Jensen, 2003. "Paying People to Lie: the Truth about the Budgeting Process," European Financial Management, European Financial Management Association, vol. 9(3), pages 379-406.
  8. Titman, Sheridan & Wessels, Roberto, 1988. " The Determinants of Capital Structure Choice," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 43(1), pages 1-19, March.
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