What is the Relationship Between REIT Governance and Earnings Management?

What is the Relationship Between REIT Governance and Earnings Management? The empirical corporate finance literature claims that better corporate governance constrains earnings management, while others argue that the unique legal and reporting structure of REITs may reduce the need for such internal corporate governance. Using a sample of publicly traded REITs for the 2004–2008 time period, we examine the relationships amongst corporate governance, accruals earnings management, manipulation of Funds from Operations (FFO), and real earnings management. We find that corporate governance quality is unrelated to accruals earnings management and manipulation of FFO. At first glance, the findings suggest that managers need less internal oversight because of the more transparent reporting structure of REITs. However, we document that REITs engage in significant real activities manipulation for earnings management purposes. Our empirical findings further show that corporate governance characteristics, in particular board size, independence, number of board meetings and audit committee financial expertise, are essential for constraining such activities. Finally, by focusing on a subset of REITs that act in ways which previous research has identified as more susceptible to earnings management activities, we demonstrate that good corporate governance effectively reduces accruals earnings management and manipulation of FFO for these REITs. Overall, our findings indicate that, despite the unique legal and reporting structure, REITs engage in certain forms of earnings management, and that the ability for REITs to manipulate earnings is reduced when corporate governance is more effective. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics Springer Journals

What is the Relationship Between REIT Governance and Earnings Management?

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Publisher
Springer US
Copyright
Copyright © 2012 by Springer Science+Business Media, LLC
Subject
Economics / Management Science; Regional/Spatial Science; Finance/Investment/Banking
ISSN
0895-5638
eISSN
1573-045X
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11146-012-9367-y
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The empirical corporate finance literature claims that better corporate governance constrains earnings management, while others argue that the unique legal and reporting structure of REITs may reduce the need for such internal corporate governance. Using a sample of publicly traded REITs for the 2004–2008 time period, we examine the relationships amongst corporate governance, accruals earnings management, manipulation of Funds from Operations (FFO), and real earnings management. We find that corporate governance quality is unrelated to accruals earnings management and manipulation of FFO. At first glance, the findings suggest that managers need less internal oversight because of the more transparent reporting structure of REITs. However, we document that REITs engage in significant real activities manipulation for earnings management purposes. Our empirical findings further show that corporate governance characteristics, in particular board size, independence, number of board meetings and audit committee financial expertise, are essential for constraining such activities. Finally, by focusing on a subset of REITs that act in ways which previous research has identified as more susceptible to earnings management activities, we demonstrate that good corporate governance effectively reduces accruals earnings management and manipulation of FFO for these REITs. Overall, our findings indicate that, despite the unique legal and reporting structure, REITs engage in certain forms of earnings management, and that the ability for REITs to manipulate earnings is reduced when corporate governance is more effective.

Journal

The Journal of Real Estate Finance and EconomicsSpringer Journals

Published: Apr 15, 2012

References

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