The Market for Corporate Control and Accounting Conservatism
Jeffrey L. Callen
University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management
City University of Hong Kong - Department of Accountancy
McMaster University - Michael G. DeGroote School of Business
June 20, 2010
This study explores the governance role of accounting conservatism by investigating changes in financial reporting conservatism before and after the passage of state anti-takeover laws. The passage of these anti-takeover laws introduced an exogenous shock to the takeover threat faced by firms and constitutes a natural experiment for investigating the relation between financial reporting and governance free of endogeneity concerns. Employing a difference-in-differences methodology, we find that conditional accounting conservatism increased significantly after the passage of state anti-takeover legislation consistent with accounting conservatism acting as a substitute internal governance mechanism for the weakened external governance environment. We further conjecture and document that the resulting increase in conservatism is greater for firms operating in less competitive industries, firms with superior managers, and firms with lower institutional ownership. This evidence sheds light on how the financial reporting system interacts with corporate governance mechanisms in alleviating potential agency problems.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 40
Keywords: conditional conservatism, corporate governance, state anti-takeover legislation, difference-in-differences
JEL Classification: M41
Date posted: June 27, 2010
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