Journal of Accounting Research

Published by Wiley
Online ISSN: 1475-679X
Publications
Article
ABSTRACT In December 2004, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) mandated the use of a fair value-based measurement attribute to value employee stock options (ESOs) via Financial Accounting Standard (FAS) 123-R. In anticipation of FAS 123-R, between March 2004 and November 2005, several firms accelerate the vesting of ESOs to avoid recognizing existing unvested ESO grants at fair value in future financial statements. We find that the likelihood of accelerated vesting is higher if (1) acceleration has a greater effect on future ESO compensation expense, especially related to underwater options, and (2) firms suffer greater agency problems, proxied by fewer blockholders, lower pension fund ownership, and top five officers holding a greater share of ESOs. We also find a negative stock price reaction around the announcement of the acceleration decision. Furthermore, stock returns are significantly negative before the new vesting dates and positive afterward, suggesting that vesting dates could have been backdated. Copyright (c), University of Chicago on behalf of the Institute of Professional Accounting, 2008.
 
Article
We investigate the effect of the Financial Accounting Standards Board's (FASB) new segment reporting standard on the information and monitoring environment. We compare hand-collected, restated SFAS 131 segment data for the final SFAS 14 fiscal year with the historical SFAS 14 data. We find that SFAS 131 increased the number of reported segments and provided more disaggregated information. Analysts and the market had access to a portion of the new segment information before it was made public, but analyst and market expectations were still altered by the mandated release of the new data. By increasing information disaggregation, the new standard induced firms to reveal previously "hidden" information about their diversification strategies. The newly revealed information affected market valuations and lead to changes in firm behavior consistent with improved monitoring following adoption of SFAS 131. Copyright University of Chicago on behalf of the Institute of Professional Accounting, 2003.
 
Article
Beatty and Weber examine an accounting choice that managers made upon adoption of Statement of Financial Accounting Standards 142: whether to record a goodwill asset impairment as a cumulative effect of an accounting change at the time of adoption or delay the recognition of such an impairment to the future (perhaps indefinitely) when they would be recorded as expenses in earnings from continuing operations. The authors consider several factors that might influence management's reporting of transition effects, including contracting, equity market incentives, and regulatory forces. Participants at the 2005 Journal of Accounting Research Conference questioned whether such a complex accounting decision can be captured with simple linear models and noisy proxy variables, while also speculating upon whether the results would generalize to other settings. In this discussion, I summarize Beatty and Weber's research, highlight its contribution to the accounting literature, and provide a record of the main issues raised by the conference participants. Copyright University of Chicago on behalf of the Institute of Professional Accounting, 2006.
 
Article
This study examines Statement of Financial Accounting Standards 142 adoption decisions, focusing on the trade-off between recording certain current goodwill impairment charges below the line and uncertain future impairment charges included in income from continuing operations. We examine several potentially important economic incentives that firms face when making this accounting choice. We find evidence suggesting that firms' equity market concerns affect their preference for above-the-line vs. below-the-line accounting treatment, and firms' debt contracting, bonus, turnover, and exchange delisting incentives affect their decisions to accelerate or delay expense recognition. Our study contributes to the accounting choice literature by examining managers' use of discretion when adopting a mandatory accounting change and by developing and testing explicit cross-sectional hypotheses of the determinants of firms' preferences for immediate below-the-line versus delayed above-the-line expense recognition. Copyright University of Chicago on behalf of the Institute of Professional Accounting, 2006.
 
Article
Using a sample of privately held C corporations and S corporations from the motor carrier industry during 1984-92, we assess the effect of the 1986 Tax Reform Act on the amount of corporate income shareholders of privately held C corporations shifted to their personal tax bases. We estimate that the C corporations shifted a mean of $130,587 taxable income each year to shareholders (representing 29 percent of their mean accounting earnings before income shifting) after the 1986 tax law change. The C corporations used deductible managerial compensation and rent expense, but not interest expense, to shift income to shareholders.
 
Article
Does taxation affect the timing of death? This is an interesting example of how behavior might be affected by economic incentives. We study how two changes in Swedish inheritance taxation 2003/04 and 2004/05 have affected mortality during the turns of the years. Our first main result is that deceased with estates taxable for legal heirs were 10 percentage points more likely to have died on New Year’s Day 2005, from when the inheritance tax was repealed, rather than on New Year’s Eve 2004, compared to deceased without taxable estates for legal heirs. The second main result is that deceased with estates taxable for a married spouse were 12 percentage points more likely to have died on New Year’s Day 2004, from when the inheritance tax between spouses was repealed, rather than on New Year’s Eve 2003, compared to deceased without taxable estates for a married spouse.
 
Article
This article discusses the main contributions and findings of Hochberg, Sapienza and Vissing-Jorgensen's 'A Lobbying Approach to Evaluating the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.' I offer a synopsis of the Journal of Accounting Research conference discussion of the paper as well as provide some broader perspectives on the two main lines of inquiry to which the paper contributes. The first perspective focuses on the impact of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) and, in particular, how this study and others face the challenge of benchmarking of the price and quantity effects of the Act. I discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the authors' identification strategy that separates out firms whose insiders actively lobbied the Securities and Exchange Commission's rule-making process in the aftermath of SOX. The second perspective considers the motivations for and consequences of lobbying activity. I survey existing research in Economics, Accounting and Management which shows that lobbying propensity is predictable, confirms it is most likely to be conducted by agents most affected by the rule changes, but also warns that there are firm-specific, industry-specific, and even issue-specific factors that can complicate these interpretations.
 
Article
ABSTRACT The American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 (the Act) creates a temporary tax holiday that effectively reduces the U.S. tax rate on repatriations from foreign subsidiaries from 35% to 5.25%. Firms receive the reduced tax rate by electing to take an 85% dividends received deduction on repatriations in 2004 or 2005. This paper investigates the characteristics of firms that repatriate under the Act and how they use the repatriated funds. We find that firms that repatriate under the Act have lower investment opportunities and higher free cash flows than nonrepatriating firms. Further, we find that repatriating firms increase share repurchases during 2005 by approximately $60 billion more than nonrepatriating firms, an amount that cannot be explained by differences in earnings between the two groups of firms. This increase represents about 20% of the $291.6 billion repatriated by our sample firms under the Act. Copyright (c), University of Chicago on behalf of the Accounting Research Center, 2009.
 
Article
Ramanna and Roychowdhury (2010) advance two interesting questions about the determinants of accounting discretion: Do firms use accounting discretion to mitigate the potential economic consequences of negative publicity? And, do firms’ political connections provide an additional motivation to use accounting discretion in the face of negative publicity? They explore the hypothesis that politically-connected firms become a liability to election candidates when voters discover that the firms have engaged in outsourcing jobs, and that firms attempt to mitigate the effects of negative publicity by managing earnings downward to lower their perceived profitability. Within a sample of politically-connected firms, the authors find that firms receiving greater negative publicity about job outsourcing are more likely to use negative accounting discretion. Although the authors emphasize the importance of firms’ political connections, the influence of negative publicity on accounting discretion more generally may well be the aspect of the paper with broadest interest to accounting researchers.
 
Article
ABSTRACT We examine the accrual choices of outsourcing firms with links to U.S. congressional candidates during the 2004 elections, when corporate outsourcing was a major campaign issue. We find that politically connected firms with more extensive outsourcing activities have more income-decreasing discretionary accruals. Further, relative to adjacent periods, the evidence is concentrated in the two calendar quarters immediately preceding the 2004 election, consistent with heightened incentives for firms to manage earnings during the election season. The incentives can be attributed to donor firms' concerns about the potentially negative consequences of scrutiny over outsourcing for themselves and for their affiliated candidates. Copyright (c), University of Chicago on behalf of the Accounting Research Center, 2010.
 
Article
We investigate the extent to which income measurement by major early 20th-century U.S. railroads shows evidence of lower income smoothness and increased conservatism following new fixed asset accounting rules issued by the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) in 1907 and 1908 and concurrent rate regulation regime shifts. Accounting rules promulgated by the ICC after the Hepburn Act of 1906 are the first accounting rules in U.S. history in which regulators could enforce such rules under federal law to increase compliance. Our samplewide results are more consistent with increased conservatism than with income smoothing. Additional tests indicate these effects are more pronounced for firms subject to more intense rate regulation by the ICC, which suggests that the tie-in between accounting regulation and product/service market regulation influences how managers respond to new accounting rules. Copyright University of Chicago on behalf of the Institute of Professional Accounting, 2003.
 
Article
ABSTRACT We evaluate the manner in which sponsors of highly leveraged asset-backed commercial paper (ABCP) conduits responded to Financial Accounting Standards Board Interpretation No. 46 (FIN 46), "Consolidation of Variable Interest Entities an Interpretation of ARB No. 51", and its Canadian counterpart Accounting Standards Board of Accounting Guideline 15 (AcG-15), "Consolidation of Variable Interest Entities". By matching commercial paper investors with corporations seeking liquidity, ABCP sponsors facilitate a significant amount of short-term, securitized financing in the United States. FIN 46 and AcG-15 require sponsors to consolidate their ABCP conduits with their financial statements. We demonstrate that the volume of ABCP began to decline when FIN 46 was first proposed, and that this decline is primarily attributable to a reduction in North American banks' sponsorship of ABCP. We also demonstrate that North American banks entered into costly restructuring arrangements to avoid having to consolidate their conduits per the new accounting standards. Our results suggest that, in certain settings, accounting standards appear to have real effects on investment activity and product-market competition. Copyright (c), University of Chicago on behalf of the Institute of Professional Accounting, 2008.
 
Article
ABSTRACT This paper investigates whether there are systematic differences between the forecasting style and abilities of female and male analysts, and whether market participants recognize these differences. My key conjecture is that only female analysts with superior forecasting abilities enter the profession due to a perception of discrimination in the analyst labor market. Consistent with this conjecture, I find that female analysts issue bolder and more accurate forecasts and their accuracy is higher in market segments in which their concentration is lower. Further, the stock market participants are aware of the male-female skill differences. They respond more strongly to the forecast revisions by female analysts even though those analysts get less media coverage. The short-term market reaction is incomplete, however, because it is followed by a strong post-revision drift. The perception of abilities is similar in the analyst labor market, where female analysts are more likely to move up to high-status brokerage firms, while their downward career mobility is lower. Collectively, these results indicate that female analysts have better-than-average skill due to self-selection and market participants are at least partially able to recognize their superior abilities. Copyright (c), University of Chicago on behalf of the Accounting Research Center, 2009.
 
Article
We present data on privacy practices in e-commerce under the European Union's formal regulatory regime prevailing in the United Kingdom and compare it with the data from a previous study of U.S. practices that evolved in the absence of government laws or enforcement. The codification by the E.U. law, and the enforcement by the U.K. government, improves neither the disclosure nor the practice of e-commerce privacy relative to the United States. Regulation in the United Kingdom also appears to stifle development of a market for Web assurance services. Both U.S. and U.K. consumers continue to be vulnerable to a small number of e-commerce Web sites that spam their customers, ignoring the latter's expressed or implied preferences. These results raise important questions about finding a balance between enforced standards and conventions in financial reporting. In the second half of the 20th century, financial reporting has been characterized by both a preference for legislated standards and a lack of faith in its evolution as a body of social conventions. Evidence on whether this faith in standards over conventions is justified remains to be marshaled. Copyright University of Chicago on behalf of the Institute of Professional Accounting, 2005.
 
Article
This study offers evidence on the earnings forecast bias analysts use to please firm management and the associated benefits they obtain from issuing such biased forecasts in the years prior to Regulation Fair Disclosure. Analysts who issue initial optimistic earnings forecasts followed by pessimistic earnings forecasts before the earnings announcement produce more accurate earnings forecasts and are less likely to be fired by their employers. The effect of such biased earnings forecasts on forecast accuracy and firing is stronger for analysts who follow firms with heavy insider selling and hard-to-predict earnings. The above results hold regardless of whether a brokerage firm has investment banking business or not. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that analysts use biased earnings forecasts to curry favor with firm management in order to obtain better access to management's private information. Copyright University of Chicago on behalf of the Institute of Professional Accounting, 2006.
 
Article
This study examines recent regulatory and practitioner concerns that managers provide more (less) information to analysts with more (less) favorable stock recommendations. We examine the relative forecast accuracy of analysts before and after a recommendation issuance under the assumption that increases (decreases) in management-provided information will increase (decrease) analysts' relative forecast accuracy. We find that analysts issuing more favorable recommendations experience a greater increase in their relative forecast accuracy compared with analysts with less favorable recommendations. Additional tests on the change in frequency with which analysts issue forecasts independent of or in conjunction with other analysts after their recommendation change yield corroborating results. In addition, we find that the greater increase in relative accuracy for analysts with more favorable recommendations exists prior to the passage of Regulation FD but not after. The combined results are consistent with analysts receiving relatively more management-provided information following the issuance of more favorable recommendations. Copyright University of Chicago on behalf of the Institute of Professional Accounting, 2006.
 
Article
This paper studies a model of “classifications manipulation” in which accounting reports consist of one of two binary classifications, preparers of accounting reports prefer one classification over the other, an accounting standard designates the official requirements that have to be met to receive the preferred classification, and preparers may engage in “classifications manipulation” in order to receive their preferred accounting classification. The possibility of classifications manipulation creates a distinction between the official classification described in the statement of the accounting standard and the de facto classification, determined by the “shadow standard” actually adopted by preparers. The paper studies the selection and evolution of accounting standards in this context. Among other things, the paper evaluates “efficient” accounting standards, it determines when there will be “standards creep,” it introduces and analyzes the notion of a Nash accounting standard, and it compares the standards set by sophisticated standard–setters to those set with less knowledge of firms’ financial reporting environments.
 
Article
ABSTRACT We model the interaction of financial market transparency and different accounting regimes. This paper provides a theoretical rationale for the recently proposed shift in accounting standards from historic cost accounting to marking to market. The paper shows that marking to market can provide investors with an early warning mechanism while historical cost gives management a "veil" under which they can potentially mask a firm's true economic performance. The model provides new explanations for several empirical findings and has some novel implications. We show that greater opacity in financial markets leads to more frequent and more severe crashes in asset prices (under a historic-cost-accounting regime). Moreover, our model indicates that historic cost accounting can make the financial market more rather than less volatile, which runs counter to conventional wisdom. The mechanism shown in the model also sheds light on the cause of many financial scandals in recent years. Copyright University of Chicago on behalf of the Institute of Professional Accounting, 2007.
 
Article
ABSTRACT This paper examines interpretation of accounting standards that provide implementation guidance via affirmative or counter examples. Based on prior psychology research, we predict that practitioners engage in "example-based reasoning" such that they are more likely to conclude that their case qualifies for the same treatment as the example. We test our predictions in two experiments in which participants judge the appropriateness of income-statement recognition. Experiment 1 uses Masters of Business Administration (MBA) students and varies example type (affirmative, counter) and case (revenue recognition, expense recognition) in a 2 × 2 design. Experiment 1 supports our predictions. Experiment 2 uses more experienced practitioners, and varies example type (affirmative, counter, both) in a 1 × 3 design. Experiment 2 supports the use of example-based reasoning, and indicates that practitioners in the "both" condition respond as if they had only received an affirmative example. These results have implications for understanding how guidance that accompanies accounting standards can result in aggressive or conservative application of standards. Copyright University of Chicago on behalf of the Institute of Professional Accounting, 2007.
 
Article
ABSTRACT We examine how outsiders rationally interpret a reported loss on derivatives when the application of mark-to-market accounting to cash flow hedges creates a mixed attribute problem. We find that because of the mixed attribute problem, the information content of mark-to-market accounting is related to the information content of historical cost accounting in a very specific way. This relationship allows us to identify the circumstances under which mark-to-market accounting facilitates and when it detracts from the objective of providing an early warning of potential financial distress. We show that the reporting of an impending derivative loss by a distressed firm can actually lead outsiders to infer that the firm is in a better financial position than what they would have inferred under the silence associated with historical cost accounting. Without the mixed attribute problem, mark-to-market accounting would always yield more accurate assessments of the firm's financial position. Copyright University of Chicago on behalf of the Institute of Professional Accounting, 2007.
 
Article
ABSTRACT In this paper we examine the effect of managerial ownership on financial reporting conservatism. Separation of ownership and control gives rise to agency problems between managers and shareholders. Financial reporting conservatism is one potential mechanism to address these agency problems. We hypothesize that, as managerial ownership declines, the severity of agency problem increases, increasing the demand for conservatism. Consistent with our hypothesis, we find that conservatism as measured by the asymmetric timeliness of earnings declines with managerial ownership. The negative association between managerial ownership and asymmetric timeliness of earnings is robust to various controls, in particular, for the investment opportunity set. We thus provide evidence of a demand for conservatism from the firm's shareholders. Copyright University of Chicago on behalf of the Institute of Professional Accounting, 2008.
 
Article
ABSTRACT  We examine how accounting transparency and investor base jointly affect financial analysts' expectations of mispricing (i.e., expectations of stock price deviations from fundamental value). Within a range of transparency, these two factors interactively amplify analysts' expectations of mispricing-analysts expect a larger positive deviation when a firm's disclosures "more" transparently reveal income-increasing earnings management and the firm's most important investors are described as transient institutional investors with a shorter-term horizon (low concentration in holdings, high portfolio turnover, and frequent momentum trading) rather than dedicated institutional investors with a longer-term horizon (high concentration in holdings, low portfolio turnover, and little momentum trading). Results are consistent with analysts anticipating that transient institutional investors are more likely than dedicated institutional investors to adjust their trading strategies for near-term factors affecting stock mispricings. Our theory and findings extend the accounting disclosure literature by identifying a boundary condition to the common supposition that disclosure transparency necessarily mitigates expected mispricing, and by providing evidence that analysts' pricing judgments are influenced by their "anticipation" of different investors' reactions to firm disclosures. Copyright (c), University of Chicago on behalf of the Accounting Research Center, 2010.
 
Article
This paper investigates the press's role as a monitor or "watchdog" for accounting fraud. I find that the press fulfills this role by rebroadcasting information from other information intermediaries (analysts, auditors, and lawsuits) and by undertaking original investigation and analysis. Articles based on original analysis provide new information to the markets while those that rebroadcast allegations from other intermediaries do not. Consistent with a dual role for the press, I find that business-oriented press is more likely to undertake original analysis while nonbusiness periodicals focus primarily on rebroadcasting. I also investigate the determinates of press coverage, finding systematic biases in the types of firms and frauds for which articles are published. In general, the press covers firms and frauds that will be of interest to a broad set of readers and situations that are lower cost to identify and investigate. Copyright University of Chicago on behalf of the Institute of Professional Accounting, 2006.
 
Article
This paper examines the relation between accounting choice and U.S. institutional investor ownership in non-U.S. firms. We predict that U.S. investors exhibit home bias in their preference for accounting methods conforming to U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) because such methods are more familiar, reduce information processing costs, and are perceived as higher quality. We find that firms exhibiting higher levels (changes) of U.S. GAAP conformity have greater levels (changes) of U.S. institutional ownership. Lead-lag regressions suggest that increases in U.S. GAAP conformity precede increases in U.S. investment, but changes in U.S. institutional holdings do not precede changes in accounting methods. We also find that the positive relation between U.S. GAAP conformity and U.S. investment holds regardless of a firm's visibility to U.S. investors (e.g., American Depositary Receipt listing, stock index membership, analyst following, firm size). However, we find that U.S. GAAP conformity has a significantly greater impact among firms already visible to U.S. investors. Copyright University of Chicago on behalf of the Institute of Professional Accounting, 2004.
 
Article
Inflation and foreign exchange raise new issues with respect to accounting representations of equity value. For example, inflation creates an earnings illusion as an artifact of the mismatching of expenses based on allocations of historical costs with current revenues in determining earnings. This mismatching distorts mappings of aggregate earnings and book values into equity value such that value-relevant information is lost. In this article we consider the consequences of inflation and foreign exchange accounting policies, including those contained in accounting standards, on the value relevance of bottom-line accounting numbers. Policies are identified that achieve efficient accounting in the sense that aggregate (comprehensive) earnings and book values are sufficient for an accounting representation of equity value. The linear relations that emerge provide predictions on capitalization coefficients that help explain results of empirical inquiries. As well, our analysis provides a theoretical foundation for policies contained in accounting standards that contributes to the resolution of controversies such as that concerning foreign exchange accounting. Copyright University of Chicago on behalf of the Institute of Professional Accounting, 2004.
 
Article
Whatever the adjustments that the regulators adopt to take account of the unintended consequences, there are lingering suspicions that the conduct of firms—especially financial firms such as banks and insurance companies—will be changed irretrievably with the widespread adoption of marking to market. The greater immediacy of fair values for capital and profitability may become a source of procyclicality, in which the cycles of boom and bust are amplified. In buoyant economic conditions perceived credit risk might decline, leading to a rise in the fair value of banks' assets, which would in turn boost bank capital and encourage an increase in lending, so strengthening the economic upswing. These same effects would go into reverse with a vengeance in downturns. As the economy declines, perceived credit risk increases, leading to a fall in the marked to market value of banks' assets, which would in turn erode banks' capital. This will result in a credit crunch that will reinforce the downturns. A recent position paper from the European Central Bank (ECB [2004]) conducts simulation exercises on EU banks' assets and capital that suggest strong potential for amplification of the credit cycle. The effects of fair value accounting could, therefore, have far-reaching consequences for the overall stability of the economy.
 
Article
Accounting measurements of firms' investments are usually imprecise. We study the economic consequences of such imprecision when it interacts with information asymmetry regarding an investment project's ex ante profitability, known only by the firm's managers. Absent agency and risk-sharing considerations, we find that some degree of accounting imprecision could actually be value enhancing. We characterize the optimal degree of imprecision and identify its key determinants. The greater the information asymmetry regarding the project's profitability, the greater is the imprecision that should be tolerated in the measurement of the firm's investment. Copyright 2005 The Institute of Professional Accounting, University of Chicago.
 
Article
This paper studies the accounting treatment of uncertainty and how it affects a firm's capital structure. We distinguish two sources of uncertainty that raise reliability concerns: inherent uncertainty and incentive uncertainty. By inherent uncertainty, we refer to uncertainty about the quality of raw information regarding future cash flows. By incentive uncertainty, we refer to uncertainty about the quality of accounting numbers conveying the raw information. We explore features of accounting that can effectively deal with these two types of uncertainties in order to aid in the debt-equity decision of the firm. To handle inherent uncertainty, preferable accounting involves flexible revenue/expense recognition rules that recognize more profit when the uncertainty level is low. To deal with incentive uncertainty, a stringent revenue/expense recognition rule may be desirable to fend off management's opportunistic reporting behavior. Inflexible accounting rules cause a firm's financing choices to deviate from what would hold with complete information. Given any accounting rule, an information environment with a lower (higher) uncertainty regarding future cash inflows leads to higher (lower) expected debt financing. This is because assessed default risk is increasing in the uncertainty of future cash inflows, holding the uncertainty of the outflows constant. Copyright 2006 The Institute of Professional Accounting, University of Chicago.
 
Article
ABSTRACT The test developed in Mishkin [1983] (hereafter, MT) is widely used to test the rational pricing of accounting numbers. However, contrary to the perception in the accounting literature, the exclusion of variables from the MT's forecasting and pricing equations leads to an omitted variables problem that affects inferences about the rational pricing of accounting variables. Only if the omitted variables are rationally priced is their exclusion irrelevant. Failure to recognize this issue leads accounting researchers to employ the MT without appreciating how omitted variables affect the inferences they draw. We demonstrate that when additional explanatory variables are included in the MT, the rational pricing of accruals is not rejected. That is, the accrual anomaly documented in Sloan [1996] vanishes when additional explanatory variables are incorporated into the MT. We also show that in accounting research settings, where samples are large, ordinary least squares (OLS) is equivalent to the MT. As a result, accounting researchers should consider using OLS or be more explicit about the exact advantages of the MT over OLS in their research setting. Copyright University of Chicago on behalf of the Institute of Professional Accounting, 2007.
 
Article
ABSTRACT Using a sample of over 5,000 debt issues, I test whether firms with more extensive use of covenants in their public debt contracts exhibit timelier recognition of economic losses in accounting earnings. Covenants govern the transfer of decision-making and control rights from shareholders to bondholders when a company approaches financial distress and thereby limit managers' abilities to expropriate bondholder wealth. Covenants are expected to constrain managerial opportunism, however, only if the accounting system recognizes economic losses in earnings in a timely fashion. Thus, the demand for timely loss recognition should increase with a contract's reliance on covenants. Consistent with this conjecture, I find evidence that reliance on covenants in public debt contracts is positively associated with the degree of timely loss recognition. I also find evidence that the presence of prior private debt mitigates this relationship. Copyright (c), University of Chicago on behalf of the Accounting Research Center, 2009.
 
Article
We test the assertion that a consequence of voluntarily adopting International Accounting Standards (IAS) is the enhanced ability to attract foreign capital. Using a unique database that reports firm-level holdings of over 25,000 mutual funds from around the world, our multivariate tests find that average foreign mutual fund ownership is significantly higher among IAS adopters. We also find that IAS adopters in "poorer information environments" and with "lower visibility" have higher levels of foreign investment, consistent with firms using IAS adoption to provide more information and/or information in a more familiar form to foreign investors. Taken together, our findings are consistent with voluntary IAS adoption reducing home bias among foreign investors and thereby improving capital allocation efficiency. Copyright University of Chicago on behalf of the Institute of Professional Accounting, 2007.
 
Article
ABSTRACT This paper studies the role of conservative accounting standards in alleviating rational yet dysfunctional unobservable earnings manipulation. We show that when accounting numbers serve both the valuation role (in which potential investors use accounting reports to assess a firm's expected future payoff) and the stewardship role (in which current shareholders rely on the same reports to monitor their risk-averse manager), current firm owners have incentives to engage in earnings management. Such manipulation reduces accounting numbers' stewardship value and leads to inferior risk sharing. We then show that risk sharing, and hence contract efficiency, can be improved under a conservative accounting standard where, absent earnings management, accounting earnings represent true economic earnings with a downward bias, compared with under an unbiased standard where, absent earnings management, accounting earnings represent true economic earnings without bias. Copyright University of Chicago on behalf of the Institute of Professional Accounting, 2007.
 
Article
ABSTRACT In this paper we examine whether and how accounting information about a firm manifests in its cost of capital, despite the forces of diversification. We build a model that is consistent with the Capital Asset Pricing Model and explicitly allows for multiple securities whose cash flows are correlated. We demonstrate that the quality of accounting information can influence the cost of capital, both directly and indirectly. The direct effect occurs because higher quality disclosures affect the firm's assessed covariances with other firms' cash flows, which is nondiversifiable. The indirect effect occurs because higher quality disclosures affect a firm's real decisions, which likely changes the firm's ratio of the expected future cash flows to the covariance of these cash flows with the sum of all the cash flows in the market. We show that this effect can go in either direction, but also derive conditions under which an increase in information quality leads to an unambiguous decline in the cost of capital. Copyright University of Chicago on behalf of the Institute of Professional Accounting, 2007.
 
Article
Using a sample from 22 countries, I investigate the relations between the accuracy of analysts' earnings forecasts and the level of annual report disclosure, and between forecast accuracy and the degree of enforcement of accounting standards. I document that firm-level disclosures are positively related to forecast accuracy, suggesting that such disclosures provide useful information to analysts. I construct a comprehensive measure of enforcement and find that strong enforcement is associated with higher forecast accuracy. This finding is consistent with the hypothesis that enforcement encourages managers to follow prescribed accounting rules, which, in turn, reduces analysts' uncertainty about future earnings. I also find evidence consistent with disclosures being more important when analyst following is low and with enforcement being more important when more choice among accounting methods is allowed. Copyright University of Chicago on behalf of the Institute of Professional Accounting, 2003.
 
Article
We provide evidence on the characteristics of local generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) earnings for firms cross-listing on U.S. exchanges relative to a matched sample of foreign firms currently not cross-listing in the United States to investigate whether U.S. listing is associated with differences in accounting data reported in local markets. We find that cross-listed firms differ in terms of the time-series properties of earnings and accruals, and the degree of association between accounting data and share prices. Cross-listed firms appear to be less aggressive in terms of earnings management and report accounting data that are more conservative, take account of bad news in a more timely manner, and are more strongly associated with share price. Furthermore, the differences appear to result partially from changes around cross-listing and partially from differences in accounting quality before listing. We do not observe a similar pattern for firms cross-listed on other non-U.S. exchanges or on the U.S. over-the-counter market, suggesting a unique quality to cross-listing on U.S. exchanges. Copyright University of Chicago on behalf of the Institute of Professional Accounting, 2003.
 
Article
ABSTRACT We investigate how both the ownership structure and explicit contractual structure of syndicated loan deals are shaped by the debt-contracting value (DCV) of borrowers' accounting information. DCV captures the inherent ability of firms' accounting numbers to capture credit quality deterioration in a timely fashion. We hypothesize and document that when a borrower's accounting information possesses higher DCV, information asymmetry between the lead arranger and other syndicate participants is lower, allowing lead arrangers to hold a smaller proportion of new loan deals. Further, we document that the influence of DCV on the proportion of the loan retained is conditional on the lead arranger's reputation, the existence of a credit rating, and the lead arranger's previous relationships with the same borrower. Finally, we find that when loans include performance pricing provisions, the likelihood that the single performance measure used is an accounting ratio, rather than a credit rating, is increasing in DCV. Copyright University of Chicago on behalf of the Institute of Professional Accounting, 2008.
 
Article
In this paper, I draw parallels between the literatures on the effects of law on the financial development of countries and on the effects of accounting standards on financial reporting outcomes. My central thesis is that these literatures are complementary in terms of what they have to say about understanding the effects of law, regulations and accounting standards on economic and financial reporting outcomes. Moreover, both literatures suggest that U.S. securities laws and financial reporting standards have taken a more regulatory direction over time. I then take these themes and draw implications for the effects of the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) around the world at the time of adoption and over time.
 
Article
This study utilizes the variance ratio test to examine the behavior of Brazilian exchange rate. We show that adjustments for multiple tests and a bootstrap methodology must be employed in order to avoid size distortions. We propose a block bootstrap scheme and show that it has much nicer properties than the traditional Chow-Denning [Chow, K.V., Denning, K.C., 1993. A simple multiple variance ratio test. Journal of Econometrics 58 (3), 385-401] multiple variance ratio tests. Overall, the method proposed in the paper provides evidence refuting the random walk behavior for the Brazilian exchange rate for long investment horizon, but consistent with the random walk hypothesis for short-run horizon. Additionally, we also test for the predictive power of variable moving average (VMA) and trading range break (TRB) technical rules and find evidence of forecasting ability for these rules. Nonetheless, the excess return that can be obtained from such rules is not significant, suggesting that such predictability is not economically significant.
 
Article
I use a sample of 409 companies that restated their earnings from 1997 to 2001 to examine penalties for outside directors, particularly audit committee members, when their companies experience accounting restatements. Penalties from lawsuits and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) actions are limited. However, directors experience significant labor market penalties. In the three years after the restatement, director turnover is 48% for firms that restate earnings downward, 33% for a performance-matched sample, 28% for firms that restate upward, and only 18% for technical restatement firms. For firms that overstate earnings, the likelihood of director departure increases in restatement severity, particularly for audit committee directors. In addition, directors of these firms are no longer present in 25% of their positions on other boards. This loss is greater for audit committee members and for more severe restatements. A matched-sample analysis confirms this result. Overall, the evidence is consistent with outside directors, especially audit committee members, bearing reputational costs for financial reporting failure. Copyright University of Chicago on behalf of the Institute of Professional Accounting, 2005.
 
Article
We compare executive equity incentives of firms accused of accounting fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) during the period 1996-2003 with two samples of firms not accused of fraud. We measure equity incentives in a variety of ways and employ a battery of empirical tests. We find no consistent evidence that executive equity incentives are associated with fraud. These results stand in contrast to assertions by policy makers that incentives from stock-based compensation and the resulting equity holdings increase the likelihood of accounting fraud. Copyright 2006 The Institute of Professional Accounting, University of Chicago.
 
Article
In this paper, we investigate how the accounting measurement basis affects the capital market pricing of a firm's shares, which, in turn, affects the efficiency of the firm's investment decisions. We distinguish two broad bases for accounting measurements: input-based and output-based accounting. We argue that the structural difference in the two measurement bases leads to a systematic difference in the efficiency of the investment decisions. In particular, we show that an output-based measure has a natural advantage in aligning investment incentives because of its comprehensiveness. The (first-)best investment is achieved when the output-based measure is noiseless and manipulation free. In addition, under an output-based measure, more accounting noise/manipulation always leads to more inefficient investment choices. Therefore, if an output-based accounting measure is highly noisy and easy to manipulate in practice, the induced investment efficiency can be quite low. On the other hand, an input-based accounting measure, while not as comprehensive, may induce more efficient investment decisions than an output-based measure if some noise is unavoidable in either measure. The reason is twofold. First, input-based measures may be associated with less noise and limited manipulation in practice. Second, and more importantly, we show that under an input-based measure, a slight increase in accounting noise/manipulation may lead to more efficient investment choices. In fact, the (first-)best result is achieved when the noise/manipulability is small but positive. In other words, for an input-based measure, being less comprehensive makes small but positive accounting noise/manipulability desirable. Two extensions of the basic model are also explored. Copyright University of Chicago on behalf of the Institute of Professional Accounting, 2007.
 
Article
ABSTRACT This paper examines the market efficiency consequences of accounting disclosure in the context of stock markets as a Keynesian beauty contest, an influential metaphor originally proposed by Keynes [1936] and recently formalized by Allen, Morris, and Shin [2006]. In such markets, public information plays an additional commonality role, biasing stock prices away from the consensus fundamental value toward public information. Despite this bias, I demonstrate that provisions of public information always drive stock prices closer to the fundamental value. Hence, as a main source of public information, accounting disclosure enhances market efficiency, and transparency should not be compromised on grounds of the Keynesian-beauty-contest effect. Copyright (c), University of Chicago on behalf of the Institute of Professional Accounting, 2008.
 
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Christian Leuz
  • University of Chicago
Luzi Hail
  • University of Pennsylvania
Wayne R. Landsman
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Holger Daske
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John Core
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology