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Industry-specific discretionary accruals and earnings management

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In this dissertation, I examine the source of some of the anomalous capital market outcomes that have been documented for firms with high accruals. Chapter 2 develops and implements a

In this dissertation, I examine the source of some of the anomalous capital market outcomes that have been documented for firms with high accruals. Chapter 2 develops and implements a methodology that decomposes a firm's discretionary accruals into a firm-specific and an industry-specific component. I use this decomposition to investigate which component drives the subsequent negative returns associated with firms with high discretionary accruals. My results suggest that these abnormal returns are driven by the firm-specific component of discretionary accruals. Moreover, although industry-specific discretionary accruals do not directly contribute towards this anomaly, I find that it is precisely when industry-specific discretionary accruals are high that firms with high firm-specific discretionary accruals subsequently earn these negative returns. While consistent with irrational mispricing or a rational risk premium associated with high discretionary accruals, these findings also support a transactions-cost based explanation for the accruals anomaly whereby search costs associated with distinguishing between value-relevant and manipulative discretionary accruals can induce investors to overlook potential earnings manipulation. Chapter 3 extends the decomposition to examine the role of firm-specific and industry-specific discretionary accruals in explaining the subsequent market underperformance and negative analysts' forecast errors documented for firms issuing equity. I examine the post-issue market returns and analysts' forecast errors for a sample of seasoned equity issues between 1975 and 2004 and find that offering-year firm-specific discretionary accruals can partially explain these anomalous capital market outcomes. Nonetheless, I find this predictive power of firm-specific accruals to be more pronounced for issues that occur during 1975 - 1989 compared to issues taking place between 1990 and 2004. Additionally, I find no evidence that investors and analysts are more overoptimistic about the prospects of issuers that have both high firm-specific and industry-specific discretionary accruals (compared to firms with high discretionary accruals in general). The results indicate no role for industry-specific discretionary accruals in explaining overoptimistic expectations from seasoned equity issues and suggest the importance of firm-specific factors in inducing earnings manipulation surrounding equity issues.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2011

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Information conduit or agency cost: top management and director interlock between acquirers and targets

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This paper investigates the role of top management and board interlocks between acquirers and targets. I hypothesize that an interlock may exacerbate agency problems due to conflicting interests and lead

This paper investigates the role of top management and board interlocks between acquirers and targets. I hypothesize that an interlock may exacerbate agency problems due to conflicting interests and lead to value-decreasing acquisition. An interlock may also serve as a conduit of information and personal experience, and reduce the cost of information gathering for both firms. I find supporting evidence for these two non-mutually exclusive hypotheses. Consistent with the agency hypothesis, interlocked acquirers underperform non-interlocked acquirers by 2% during the announcement period. However, well-governed acquirers receive higher announcement returns and have better post-acquisition performance in interlocked deals. The proportional surplus accrued to an acquirer is positively correlated with the interlocking agent's ownership in the acquirer relative to her ownership in the target. Consistent with the information hypothesis, when the target's firm value is opaque, interlocks improve acquirer announcement returns and long-term performance. Interlocked acquirers are also more likely to use equity as payment, especially when the acquirer's stock value is opaque. Target announcement returns are not influenced by the existence of interlock. Finally, I find acquisitions are more likely to occur between two interlocked firms and such deals have a higher completion rate.

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Date Created
  • 2012

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Mutual monitoring and corporate governance

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Mutual monitoring in a well-structured authority system can mitigate the agency problem. I empirically examine whether the number 2 executive in a firm, if given authority, incentive, and channels for

Mutual monitoring in a well-structured authority system can mitigate the agency problem. I empirically examine whether the number 2 executive in a firm, if given authority, incentive, and channels for communication and influence, is able to monitor and constrain the potentially self-interested CEO. I find strong evidence that: (1) measures of the presence and extent of mutual monitoring from the No. 2 executive are positively related to future firm value (Tobin's Q); (2) the beneficial effect is more pronounced for firms with weaker corporate governance or CEO incentive alignment, with stronger incentives for the No. 2 executives to monitor, and with higher information asymmetry between the boards and the CEOs; (3) such mutual monitoring reduces the CEO's ability to pursue the "quiet life" but has no effect on "empire building;" and (4) mutual monitoring is a substitute for other governance mechanisms. The results suggest that mutual monitoring by a No. 2 executive provides checks and balances on CEO power.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2012

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Downward wage rigidity, corporate investment, and firm value

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Firms reduce investment when facing downward wage rigidity (DWR), the inability or unwillingness to adjust wages downward. I construct DWR measures and exploit staggered state-level changes in minimum wage laws

Firms reduce investment when facing downward wage rigidity (DWR), the inability or unwillingness to adjust wages downward. I construct DWR measures and exploit staggered state-level changes in minimum wage laws as an exogenous variation in DWR to document this fact. Following a minimum wage increase, firms reduce their investment rate by 1.17 percentage points. Surprisingly, this labor market friction enhances firm value and production efficiency when firms are subject to other frictions causing overinvestment, consistent with the theory of second best. Finally, I identify increased operating leverage and aggravation of debt overhang as mechanisms by which DWR impedes investment.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017

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Inventory accumulation, cash flow, and corporate investment

Description

I show that firms' ability to adjust variable capital in response to productivity shocks has important implications for the interpretation of the widely documented investment-cash flow sensitivities. The variable capital

I show that firms' ability to adjust variable capital in response to productivity shocks has important implications for the interpretation of the widely documented investment-cash flow sensitivities. The variable capital adjustment is sufficient for firms to capture small variations in profitability, but when the revision in profitability is relatively large, limited substitutability between the factors of production may call for fixed capital investment. Hence, firms with lower substitutability are more likely to invest in both factors together and have larger sensitivities of fixed capital investment to cash flow. By building a frictionless capital markets model that allows firms to optimize over fixed capital and inventories as substitutable factors, I establish the significance of the substitutability channel in explaining cross-sectional differences in cash flow sensitivities. Moreover, incorporating variable capital into firms' investment decisions helps explain the sharp decrease in cash flow sensitivities over the past decades. Empirical evidence confirms the model's predictions.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013