Earnings Management and the Revelation Principle

Earnings Management and the Revelation Principle When the Revelation Principle (RP) holds, managing earnings confers no advantage over revelation. We construct an explanation for earnings management that is based on limitations on owners' ability to make commitments (a violation of the RP's assumptions). Traditionally, earnings management is seen as sneaky managers pulling the wool over the eyes of gullible owners by manipulating accruals; our limited commitment story suggests that the owners, too, can benefit from earnings management. We categorize a variety of extant explanations of earnings management, along with our own, according to which of the assumptions of the RP each explanation violates. Plausibility of multiple simultaneous violations of the assumptions, and strategic use of various accounting and real instruments of earnings management, complicate the task of detecting such management in field data. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Review of Accounting Studies Springer Journals

Earnings Management and the Revelation Principle

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Publisher
Kluwer Academic Publishers
Copyright
Copyright © 1998 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
Subject
Business and Management; Accounting/Auditing; Corporate Finance; Public Finance
ISSN
1380-6653
eISSN
1573-7136
D.O.I.
10.1023/A:1009631714430
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

When the Revelation Principle (RP) holds, managing earnings confers no advantage over revelation. We construct an explanation for earnings management that is based on limitations on owners' ability to make commitments (a violation of the RP's assumptions). Traditionally, earnings management is seen as sneaky managers pulling the wool over the eyes of gullible owners by manipulating accruals; our limited commitment story suggests that the owners, too, can benefit from earnings management. We categorize a variety of extant explanations of earnings management, along with our own, according to which of the assumptions of the RP each explanation violates. Plausibility of multiple simultaneous violations of the assumptions, and strategic use of various accounting and real instruments of earnings management, complicate the task of detecting such management in field data.

Journal

Review of Accounting StudiesSpringer Journals

Published: Oct 6, 2004

References

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