Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

3-2010

Abstract

This paper analyzes the relation between equity prices and conditional conservatism and introduces a new measure of conservatism at the firm-year level. We show that the asymmetric properties of conservative accounting, the existence of non-accounting sources of information, and the properties of GAAP related to special items combine to generate a nonlinear relation between unexpected equity returns and earnings news (the shock to expected current and future earnings). Based on this model, we construct a conservatism ratio (CR) defined as the ratio of the current earnings shock to earnings news. CR measures the proportion of the total shock to expected current and future earnings recognized in current year earnings. Ranking firms according to CR, we show empirically that higher CR firms have more leverage, increased volatility of returns, more incidence of losses, more negative accruals, and increased volatility of earnings and accruals, consistent with the literature on conservative accounting.

Keywords

Conservatism special items, Linearity, Return decomposition, Conservatism ratio

Discipline

Accounting | Corporate Finance

Research Areas

Financial Performance Analysis

Publication

Review of Accounting Studies

Volume

15

Issue

1

First Page

145

Last Page

178

ISSN

1380-6653

Identifier

10.1007/s11142-009-9087-6

Publisher

Springer

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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