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Guanxi, overconfidence and corporate fraud in China

Guanxi, overconfidence and corporate fraud in China This study aims to combine two fraud-related streams of the literature on guanxi and overconfidence into an integrated framework, which is the fraud triangle, to interpret the mechanism of fraud commission and detection.Design/methodology/approachA bivariate probit model with Partial Observability (POBi Probit) is applied. Moreover, the POBi Probit model is adjusted to the Chinese context. The China-specific POBi Probit model is constructed using data of Chinese A-share listed companies from 2008 to 2014, with a total of 15,109 firm-year observations.FindingsOverconfidence induces fraud commission and worsens fraud detection; overconfidence mediates the relationship between fraud and guanxi; the “white side” of guanxi comes from alumni networks, while the “dark side” is derived from relatives-based networks; overconfidence induces fraud commission in accounting and disclosure and benefits the detection of disclosure frauds. Guanxi suppresses fraud commission in management and disclosure, however, it worsens fraud detection given fraud in management and disclosure; overconfidence induces fraud commission in both state-owned enterprises (SOE) and non-SOEs, and benefits fraud detection in SOEs. Guanxi suppresses fraud commission and worsens fraud detection in SOEs and city-owned firms.Research limitations/implicationsThere are two drawbacks of the partial observable bivariate probit (POBi-Probit) method that must be mentioned here. On one hand, the ex ante variable selection is one of the most difficult parts of applying the POBi-Probit model and different variables are included in different studies. On the other hand, the POBi-Probit model might not converge if too many variables are included. Thus, many widely accepted factors can be included in the model. Thus, this study initially sets the POBi-Probit model based mainly on Khanna et al. (2015) and then adjusts the model for the Chinese context (e. g. considering government ownership) according to Yiu et al. (2018) and Zhang (2018) and the local study of Meng et al. (2019). Considering the observability of fraud, on one hand, the observability of fraud commission is a widely accepted limitation, especially when accounting opacity comes across with regulatory efficiency (Yiu et al. (2018). On the other hand, the observability of relationships is another obstacle to this study. Future studies can go further by revealing the presently unobservable relationships using Big Data technology.Originality/valueThis paper theoretically and practically contributes to the literature on both corporate fraud and corporate governance. Theoretically, by introducing integrated principal-agent resource-reliance theory (IPRT) and upper echelon theory (UET), this paper broadens the framework of fraud triangle theory (FTT) and testifies the availability of the broaden FTT in the transitional and emerging-market context of China. Practically, this paper provides evidence that guanxi and overconfidence are two of the factors affecting corporate fraud. Thus, this paper provides a governance approach opposing corporate fraud in China, which may help the other emerging economies in transition. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Chinese Management Studies Emerald Publishing

Guanxi, overconfidence and corporate fraud in China

Chinese Management Studies , Volume 15 (3): 56 – Jun 17, 2021

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1750-614X
DOI
10.1108/cms-04-2020-0166
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This study aims to combine two fraud-related streams of the literature on guanxi and overconfidence into an integrated framework, which is the fraud triangle, to interpret the mechanism of fraud commission and detection.Design/methodology/approachA bivariate probit model with Partial Observability (POBi Probit) is applied. Moreover, the POBi Probit model is adjusted to the Chinese context. The China-specific POBi Probit model is constructed using data of Chinese A-share listed companies from 2008 to 2014, with a total of 15,109 firm-year observations.FindingsOverconfidence induces fraud commission and worsens fraud detection; overconfidence mediates the relationship between fraud and guanxi; the “white side” of guanxi comes from alumni networks, while the “dark side” is derived from relatives-based networks; overconfidence induces fraud commission in accounting and disclosure and benefits the detection of disclosure frauds. Guanxi suppresses fraud commission in management and disclosure, however, it worsens fraud detection given fraud in management and disclosure; overconfidence induces fraud commission in both state-owned enterprises (SOE) and non-SOEs, and benefits fraud detection in SOEs. Guanxi suppresses fraud commission and worsens fraud detection in SOEs and city-owned firms.Research limitations/implicationsThere are two drawbacks of the partial observable bivariate probit (POBi-Probit) method that must be mentioned here. On one hand, the ex ante variable selection is one of the most difficult parts of applying the POBi-Probit model and different variables are included in different studies. On the other hand, the POBi-Probit model might not converge if too many variables are included. Thus, many widely accepted factors can be included in the model. Thus, this study initially sets the POBi-Probit model based mainly on Khanna et al. (2015) and then adjusts the model for the Chinese context (e. g. considering government ownership) according to Yiu et al. (2018) and Zhang (2018) and the local study of Meng et al. (2019). Considering the observability of fraud, on one hand, the observability of fraud commission is a widely accepted limitation, especially when accounting opacity comes across with regulatory efficiency (Yiu et al. (2018). On the other hand, the observability of relationships is another obstacle to this study. Future studies can go further by revealing the presently unobservable relationships using Big Data technology.Originality/valueThis paper theoretically and practically contributes to the literature on both corporate fraud and corporate governance. Theoretically, by introducing integrated principal-agent resource-reliance theory (IPRT) and upper echelon theory (UET), this paper broadens the framework of fraud triangle theory (FTT) and testifies the availability of the broaden FTT in the transitional and emerging-market context of China. Practically, this paper provides evidence that guanxi and overconfidence are two of the factors affecting corporate fraud. Thus, this paper provides a governance approach opposing corporate fraud in China, which may help the other emerging economies in transition.

Journal

Chinese Management StudiesEmerald Publishing

Published: Jun 17, 2021

Keywords: Guanxi; Overconfidence; Corporate fraud; Fraud triangle theory; Bivariate probit model with partial observability

References