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

Author

Listed:
  • Akinobu Shuto

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

  • Takuya Iwasaki

    (Faculty of Commerce, Kansai University, Japan)

Abstract

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
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    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

    Keywords

    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

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