Using confidential data of executive-specific short-term bonus plans, we investigate the extent to which executives manipulate earnings to maximize the present value of bonus plan payments. As such, this paper extends the work of Healy (1985). Like Healy, we find evidence consistent with the hypothesis that managers manipulate earnings downwards when their bonuses are at their maximum. Unlike Healy, we find no evidence that managers manipulate earnings downwards when earnings are below the minimum necessary to receive any bonus. We demonstrate that Healy's results at the lower bound are likely to be induced by his methodology.
Journal of Accounting and Economics – Elsevier
Published: Feb 1, 1995
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