We provide new evidence on the disclosure in earnings announcements of financial statement line items prepared under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). First, we investigate the circumstances that might provide disincentives generally for GAAP line item disclosures. We find that managers who regularly intervene in the earnings reporting process limit disclosures at the aggregate level and in each of the financial statements so as to more effectively guide investor attention to summary financial information. Specifically, this disclosure behavior obtains when managers habitually cater to market expectations, engage in income smoothing, or use discretionary accruals to improve earnings informativeness. Second, we predict and find that the specific GAAP line items that firms choose to disclose are determined by the differential informational demands of their economic environment, consistent with incentives to facilitate investor valuation. However, these valuation-related disclosure incentives are muted when managers habitually intervene in the earnings reporting process.
Review of Accounting Studies – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 17, 2009
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