GAAP mandates the full expensing of R&D in financial statements, presumably because of concerns with the reliability, objectivity, and value-relevance of R&D capitalization. To address these concerns, we estimate the R&D capital of a large sample of public companies and find these estimates to be statistically reliable and economically meaningful. We then adjust the reported earnings and book values of sample firms for the R&D capitalization and find that such adjustments are value-relevant to investors. Finally, we document a significant intertemporal association between firms' R&D capital and subsequent stock returns, suggesting either a systematic mispricing of the shares of R&D-intensive companies, or a compensation for an extra-market risk factor associated with R&D.
Journal of Accounting and Economics – Elsevier
Published: Feb 1, 1996
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