IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Stable Shareholdings, the Decision Horizon Problem, and Patterns of Earnings Management


  • Akinobu Shuto

    (Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration (RIEB), Kobe University, Japan)

  • Takuya Iwasaki

    (Faculty of Commerce, Kansai University, Japan)


Prior studies argue that stable shareholders do not encourage firm managers to manage their earnings to achieve short-term earnings goals. They also state that firm managers with stable shareholders have an incentive to report smooth earnings to maintain long-term relationships with such shareholders. We focus on cross-shareholdings and stable shareholdings owned by financial institutions as stable shareholdings in Japan, and investigate the effect of these ownership structures on earnings management patterns. Specifically, we hypothesize that stable shareholdings are positively associated with the informational components of earnings smoothing, and negatively associated with big bath. Consistent with our hypotheses, we first find that as stable shareholdings increase, managers are more likely to conduct earnings smoothing that provides useful information to stable shareholders. Second, we reveal that managers are less likely to engage in big bath behavior as stable shareholdings increase. Finally, our additional analysis shows that stable shareholdings reduce incentives for managers to cut discretionary expenditures to meet short-term earnings benchmarks, implying that stable shareholdings could reduce the possibility of a myopic problem. These results suggest that managers with stable shareholdings tend to report smoother and less volatile earnings, and do not tend to pursue earnings management to attain short-term earnings targets.

Suggested Citation

  • Akinobu Shuto & Takuya Iwasaki, 2011. "Stable Shareholdings, the Decision Horizon Problem, and Patterns of Earnings Management," Discussion Paper Series DP2011-18, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University, revised May 2014.
  • Handle: RePEc:kob:dpaper:dp2011-18

    Download full text from publisher

    To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
    1. Check below whether another version of this item is available online.
    2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
    3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.


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

    Cited by:

    1. Ming-Feng Hsu & Shiow-Ying Wen, 2015. "The Roles of Institutional Investors and Insiders in Earnings Management around Initial Public Offering Firms in Taiwan," International Journal of Economics and Financial Issues, Econjournals, vol. 5(2), pages 340-353.
    2. 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.
    3. Yusuke Takasu & Makoto Nakano, 2012. "What Do Smoothed Earnings Tell Us about the Future?," The Japanese Accounting Review, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University, vol. 2, pages 1-32, December.
    4. Masahiro Enomoto & Tomoyasu Yamaguchi, 2016. "The Impact of Japanese Regulatory Changes on Accrual-Based and Real Earnings Management," Discussion Paper Series DP2016-18, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University.

    More about this item


    Stable shareholdings; Earnings smoothing; Big bath; Horizon problem; Myopic problem;

    JEL classification:

    • M41 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Accounting
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill

    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:kob:dpaper:dp2011-18. 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: (Office of Promoting Research Collaboration, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University). 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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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.