Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Degree

Fall 2017

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Business Administration

First Advisor

Daniel W. Collins

Second Advisor

Richard D. Mergenthaler

Abstract

In this study, I explore whether managers and firms are penalized when they face pressures to manage earnings, but chose not to do so. I use periods in which an industry-leading firm inflates earnings fraudulently, and in which the public is unaware of the fraud, as a setting where managers at industry peer firms face pressures to manage earnings. Using the Dechow et al. (2011) F-score, I identify two groups of industry peer firms: one group where firms show no evidence of having managed earnings in response to the industry leader’s fraud, and another group where firms do show evidence of having managed earnings in response to the industry leader’s fraud. I hypothesize that managers of firms in the first group face a penalty in terms of personal compensation, and that the firms they lead face an increase in the cost of equity, but not in the cost of debt.

I find evidence of a negative association between the decision to refrain from managing earnings and managerial compensation. However, I also observe declining compensation for managers who do manage earnings over the same period. This latter result precludes me from being able to entirely attribute the drop in compensation for the managers of the first group to the decision to refrain from managing earnings. I find that the cost of equity increases in the period of industry-leader fraud for firms that refrain from managing earnings, but the increase is statistically insignificant. The difference in the change in the cost of equity capital for these firms and for those who manage earnings is insignificant. The latter two results preclude me from being able to entirely attribute the increase in the cost of equity for firms in the first group to the decision to refrain from managing earnings. I find no evidence of changes in the cost of debt for firms in either group.

Keywords

Accounting fraud, Earnings management

Pages

vi, 74 pages

Bibliography

Includes bibliographical references (pages 51-59).

Copyright

Copyright © 2017 Justin Paul Wood

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