IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Strategic accounting choice around firm level labour negotiations


  • Ana María Sabater

    () (Universidad de Alicante)

  • Araceli Mora

    () (Universitat de València)

  • Beatriz García Osma

    (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)


We study accounting choice around firm-level collective agreement negotiations. Prior literature argues that managers make income-decreasing accounting choices to limit the concessions made to trade unions. However, empirical research to date fails to find evidence in support of this hypothesis. We expect that this lack of evidence is driven by the confounding effects of (i) methodological concerns and (ii) influential institutional factors. Using a sample of US firms that engage in firm-level labor bargaining during the period 1994-2007, we study whether managers act strategically in an attempt to reduce the proportion of firm wealth that is accrued to employees. Our findings suggest that managers take real rather than accounting actions to minimize payments. In particular, we find evidence consistent with (i) managerial strategic timing of the negotiation, and with (ii) increased conditional conservatism in the year of labor bargaining. We do not find evidence of earnings manipulation. This potentially signals that accounting choice around labor negotiations is informative rather than opportunistic. Keywords: accounting choice, earnings quality, collective bargaining. En el presente trabajo se estudia la elección de políticas contables en torno a la negociación de convenios colectivos. La literatura previa predice que los gerentes tratan de reducir el resultado contable para minimizar las concesiones realizadas a los sindicatos. Sin embargo, no hay evidencia empírica clara hasta la fecha que ratifique esta hipótesis. Esperamos que esta falta de evidencia se justifique por (i) problemas metodológicos de estudios previos, y (ii) la influencia de factores institucionales. Empleando una muestra de empresas de EEUU que negocian un convenio colectivo entre 1994 y 2007, se estudia si los gerentes actúan estratégicamente para reducir el porcentaje de renta empresarial que se transfiere a los trabajadores. Nuestros resultados sugieren que los gerentes se valen de decisiones operativas en lugar de contables para minimizar los pagos a empleados. En particular, encontramos evidencia de (i) elección estratégica de cuándo negociar, y (ii) mayor conservadurismo contable en el año del evento. No encontramos evidencia de gestión oportunista del resultado, lo que potencialmente indica que las decisiones contables en torno a la negociación colectiva son informativas.

Suggested Citation

  • Ana María Sabater & Araceli Mora & Beatriz García Osma, 2010. "Strategic accounting choice around firm level labour negotiations," Working Papers. Serie EC 2010-09, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  • Handle: RePEc:ivi:wpasec:2010-09

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Fisrt version / Primera version, 2010
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Maria Teresa Balaguer-Coll & Diego Prior & Emili Tortosa-Ausina, 2010. "Devolution dynamics of Spanish local government," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 42(6), pages 1476-1495, June.
    2. Jacint Balaguer Coll & José C. Pernías, 2010. "Spatial density, average prices and price dispersion. Evidence from the Spanish hotel industry," Working Papers. Serie EC 2010-03, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
    3. Francisco Requena & Guadalupe Serrano & Joan Martín Montaner, 2009. "The effects of immigration on the productive structure of Spanish regions," Working Papers. Serie EC 2009-01, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
    4. Francisco José Goerlich Gisbert & Rafael Pinilla Pallejà, 2009. "Esperanzas de vida libres de discapacidad por sexo y comunidad autónoma: 2004-2006," Working Papers. Serie EC 2009-13, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
    5. Pilar Beneito López & Amparo Sanchis Llopis & María Engracia Rochina Barrachina, 2009. "The role of learning in innovation: in-house versus externally contracted R&D experience," Working Papers. Serie EC 2009-11, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Keishi Fujiyama & Makoto Kuroki, 2017. "Employee Downsizing and Accounting Choices: Evidence from Japan," Discussion Paper Series DP2017-06, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University, revised Sep 2017.

    More about this item


    elección contable; calidad del resultado; negociación colectiva;

    JEL classification:

    • M41 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Accounting
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General
    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ivi:wpasec:2010-09. 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: (Departamento de Edición). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.