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The purpose of this paper is to test a catering theory by examining impacts of minority shareholders’ pressures on earnings management (EM), and attempt to answer: what is the role of minority shareholders participation (MSP) in corporate governance? and does MSP serve as an external monitor to managers, or does it put excessive pressure on them?Design/methodology/approachUsing a novel online voting data set in China’s stock market, the author constructs the measure of MSP, and regress the EM on MSP. To address the endogeneity, the author introduces propensity score matching and difference-in-difference methods, instrumental variables, and Heckman estimation to show that the results are robust to different specifications and alternative measures.FindingsThe author documents that: MSP plays limited role in external monitoring; and firms facing high MSP levels tend to manage earnings more actively. In addition, information asymmetry, proposals’ importance, managerial incentives, and CEO financial expertise significantly affect firms’ catering behaviors.Originality/valueThis paper contributes to different strands of the literature. First, the finding significantly supports the catering hypothesis from a new perspective of EM. Second, the author contributes to a hotly debated issue in corporate governance: whether minority shareholders should be granted increased participation in corporate decisions? The results also provide timely empirical evidence for government regulators who are concerned about the costs and benefits of granting minority shareholders direct control over corporate decisions.
China Finance Review International – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 20, 2019
Keywords: China; Earnings management; Catering theory; Minority shareholder participation; Online voting; G32; G34
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