We show income smoothing results as a rational equilibrium behavior in a setting where the manager has superior foresight about the firm's prospects but faces inferior capital access relative to the owner. Under a legal structure that makes forecast-based compensation impractical and an accounting framework that requires reported income to be consistent, unbiased and cash-flow convergent, we show that the manager reports a composite of the underlying income and his foresight information. Moreover, the reported income will exhibit a lower inter-temporal variance than the underlying income. The extent of smoothing is shown to increase with the accuracy of foresight information.
Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 3, 2004
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