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Real earnings management in public vs private firms in the GCC countries: a risk perspective

Real earnings management in public vs private firms in the GCC countries: a risk perspective PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to examine the use of real earnings management by private and public firms in a unique institutional setting, which is the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. The paper also compares the level of real earnings management between public and private firms in the GCC area.Design/methodology/approachThe GCC area is a unique setting to investigate the use of real earnings management because of the low enforcement of reporting standards and supervisory rules, lack of sophisticated financial analysis, specialized media tools and high concentration of capital ownership. The authors use different models of real earnings management proposed by Roychowdhury, 2006, cash flow management, productions cost management and discretionary expenses management to examine the use of real earnings management.FindingsThe paper documents evidence consistent with private and public firms using real earnings management to influence their earnings figures. The paper also shows that the level of real earnings management is higher for private firms compared to public firms when cash flow management and discretionary expenses management models are used. The production cost model results show evidence consistent with public firms only engaging in real earnings management through production cost reduction.Research limitations/implicationsThe results of this study might not be applicable to other emerging markets.Practical implicationsThe findings of this study should promote a general understanding of firms’ behavior in unique environment such as GCC countries. Regulators in the GCC region should be aware that real earnings management techniques have been used by firms and that extra caution is required when auditing or analyzing the financial information of private and public firms in the GCC market.Originality/valueThis paper contributes to the literature in many aspects. First, it provides additional evidence on the use of earnings management in unique market contexts outside the USA and Europe. The GCC markets share many common characteristics that make them interesting settings to be investigated. Second, this paper adds more evidence on the use of earnings management between public and private firms. In this regard, the paper adds additional evidence in the discussions proposed by Ball and Shivakumar (2005) and Givoly et al. (2010) who use two competing perspectives to investigate earnings quality in public and private firms: the demand hypothesis and the opportunistic behavior hypothesis. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Applied Accounting Research Emerald Publishing

Real earnings management in public vs private firms in the GCC countries: a risk perspective

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
0967-5426
DOI
10.1108/JAAR-11-2014-0124
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to examine the use of real earnings management by private and public firms in a unique institutional setting, which is the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. The paper also compares the level of real earnings management between public and private firms in the GCC area.Design/methodology/approachThe GCC area is a unique setting to investigate the use of real earnings management because of the low enforcement of reporting standards and supervisory rules, lack of sophisticated financial analysis, specialized media tools and high concentration of capital ownership. The authors use different models of real earnings management proposed by Roychowdhury, 2006, cash flow management, productions cost management and discretionary expenses management to examine the use of real earnings management.FindingsThe paper documents evidence consistent with private and public firms using real earnings management to influence their earnings figures. The paper also shows that the level of real earnings management is higher for private firms compared to public firms when cash flow management and discretionary expenses management models are used. The production cost model results show evidence consistent with public firms only engaging in real earnings management through production cost reduction.Research limitations/implicationsThe results of this study might not be applicable to other emerging markets.Practical implicationsThe findings of this study should promote a general understanding of firms’ behavior in unique environment such as GCC countries. Regulators in the GCC region should be aware that real earnings management techniques have been used by firms and that extra caution is required when auditing or analyzing the financial information of private and public firms in the GCC market.Originality/valueThis paper contributes to the literature in many aspects. First, it provides additional evidence on the use of earnings management in unique market contexts outside the USA and Europe. The GCC markets share many common characteristics that make them interesting settings to be investigated. Second, this paper adds more evidence on the use of earnings management between public and private firms. In this regard, the paper adds additional evidence in the discussions proposed by Ball and Shivakumar (2005) and Givoly et al. (2010) who use two competing perspectives to investigate earnings quality in public and private firms: the demand hypothesis and the opportunistic behavior hypothesis.

Journal

Journal of Applied Accounting ResearchEmerald Publishing

Published: May 8, 2017

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