An earnings surprise can be caused by a combination of firm-specific factors and market or industry factors. We hypothesize that managers have an incentive to time their warnings to occur soon after their industry peers’ warnings to minimize their apparent responsibility for earnings shortfalls. Using duration analysis, we find that firms accelerate their warnings in response to peer firms’ warnings. We conduct several tests to control for alternative explanations for warning clustering (for example, common shocks and information transfer) and conclude that the observed clustering is primarily due to herding. Our study is one of the first to empirically examine managers’ herding behavior and the first to document clustering of bad news. Moreover, we provide a multi-firm perspective on managers’ disclosure decisions that alerts researchers to consider or control for herding when they examine other determinants of managers’ disclosure decisions.
Review of Accounting Studies – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 13, 2009
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