Financial Reporting Credibility after SOX: Evidence from Earnings Restatements
University of Kansas
Kevin R. Smith
Utah Valley University
Wendy M. Wilson
Texas Christian University - Department of Accounting
August 3, 2010
Motivated by regulatory assertions that the purpose of SOX was to restore investor confidence in the securities markets, we examine changes in the stock market reaction to earnings restatements following the implementation of SOX in order to evaluate whether the Act’s reforms have had a significant impact on the credibility of financial reporting. Consistent with speculation that the recent rise in number of restatements and the more subdued market response to restatement announcements can be attributed to SOX, we conjecture that the collective package of reforms imposed by the Act has had a limiting influence on the market response to restatement announcements. We evaluate the effect of SOX by examining three aspects of the stock market response to restatements: (1) announcement-period returns, (2) restatement-induced contagion price effects, and (3) the information content of post-restatement earnings. We find evidence that SOX has had a considerable impact on all three market measures, which supports the idea that the reforms imposed by SOX have had a significant impact on increasing investors’ assessments of reporting credibility for firms admitting to accounting errors.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 46
Keywords: Accounting restatements, Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Investor confidence, Valuation effects
JEL Classification: M41, M48, G34
Date posted: August 5, 2010
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