This paper reassesses evidence of anticipatory income smoothing reported in DeFond and Park (DP) (J. Accounting Econom. 23 (1997) 115) in light of knowledge about measurement error in discretionary accrual estimates. We argue that the method DP use to measure un-managed earnings mechanically biases the evidence in a manner consistent with anticipatory income smoothing. Using an approximate randomization approach, we find that DP's results cannot be distinguished from those achieved when discretionary accruals are randomly assigned to firm-years in our sample. Overall, these results show that the ‘backing out’ approach to measuring un-managed earnings is ineffective in testing earnings management hypotheses.
Journal of Accounting and Economics – Elsevier
Published: Aug 1, 2003
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