Earnings Management, Conservatism, and Earnings Quality
Earnings Management, Conservatism, and Earnings Quality reviews and illustrates earnings management, conservatism, and their effects on earnings quality in an economic modeling framework. Both earnings management and conservative accounting introduce biases to financial reports. The fundamental issue addressed is what economic effects these biases have on earnings quality or financial reporting quality. Earnings Management, Conservatism, and Earnings Quality reviews analytical models of earnings management and conservatism and shows that both can have beneficial or detrimental economic effects, so a differentiated view is appropriate. Earnings management can provide additional information via the financial reporting communication channel, but it can also be used to misrepresent the firm's position. What the authors find is that similar to earnings management, conservatism can reduce the information content of financial reports if it suppresses relevant information, but it can be a desirable feature that improves economic efficiency. The approach to study earnings management, conservatism, and earnings quality is based on the information economics literature. A variety of analytical models are reviewed that capture the effects and subtle interactions of managers' incentives and rational expectations of users. The benefit of analytical models is to make precise these, often highly complex, strategic effects. They offer a rigorous explanation for the phenomena and show that sometimes conventional wisdom does not apply. The monograph is organized around a few basic model settings, which are presented in simple versions first and then in extensions to elicit the main insights most clearly. Chapter 2 presents the basic rational expectations equilibrium model with earnings management and rational inferences by the capital market. Chapter 3 is devoted to earnings quality and earnings quality metrics used in many studies. Chapter 4 studies conservatism in accounting. Finally, the authors examine the interaction between conservatism and earnings management. Each chapter ends with a section containing a summary of the main findings and conclusions.