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Piecewise Linear Accrual Models: do they really control for the asymmetric recognition of gains and losses?

  • José A. C. Moreira

    ()

    (CETE, Faculdade de Economia, Universidade do Porto)

  • Peter F. Pope

    ()

    (ICRA, Management School, Lancaster University)

Registered author(s):

    The asymmetric recognition of gains and losses underlying conservative accounting is not taken into account by Jones (1991)-type accrual models. Recently, Moreira (2002) and Ball and Shivakumar (2005a) have proposed piecewise linear accrual models designed to control for this asymmetric impact. Our paper first discusses the sign of the expected measurement error in discretionary accruals (DAC) estimates when models do not control for the asymmetry underlying conservatism. We find that DAC in firms with bad news (BN) are expected to be understated, while those in good news (GN) firms will be overstated. Based on this original result we empirically test, using graphical and statistical tools, whether piecewise linear accrual models correct such a measurement error. The empirical evidence shows mixed results. For GN firms the estimates are corrected downwards, as expected; for BN firms, unexpectedly, part of the estimates is also corrected downwards. The reason for this unexpected result seems to lie in a non-linear relationship between accruals and the proxy for BN that the models are unable to control for. Thus, DAC estimates under piecewise linear models are not deemed to be of better quality than those of traditional accrual models.

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    File URL: http://www.fep.up.pt/investigacao/cete/papers/DP0703.pdf
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    Paper provided by Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto in its series CEF.UP Working Papers with number 0703.

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    Length: 46 pages
    Date of creation: Mar 2007
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:por:cetedp:0703
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    1. Paul Hribar, 2002. "Errors in Estimating Accruals: Implications for Empirical Research," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(1), pages 105-134, 03.
    2. Steven Young, 1999. "Systematic Measurement Error in the Estimation of Discretionary Accruals: An Evaluation of Alternative Modelling Procedures," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(7&8), pages 833-862.
    3. Ray Ball & Lakshmanan Shivakumar, 2006. "The Role of Accruals in Asymmetrically Timely Gain and Loss Recognition," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(2), pages 207-242, 05.
    4. Thomas, Jacob & Zhang, Xiao-jun, 2000. "Identifying unexpected accruals: a comparison of current approaches," Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 19(4-5), pages 347-376.
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    9. Healy, Paul M., 1985. "The effect of bonus schemes on accounting decisions," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1-3), pages 85-107, April.
    10. Givoly, Dan & Hayn, Carla, 2000. "The changing time-series properties of earnings, cash flows and accruals: Has financial reporting become more conservative?," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 287-320, June.
    11. 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.
    12. Blacconiere, Walter G. & Johnson, Marilyn F. & Johnson, Mark S., 2000. "Market valuation and deregulation of electric utilities," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 231-260, April.
    13. Guay, W. & Kothari, S.P. & Watts, R.L., 1996. "A Market-Based Evaluation of Discretionary-Accrual Models," Papers 96-01, Rochester, Business - Financial Research and Policy Studies.
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