Honesty in Managerial Reporting
John Harry Evans III
University of Pittsburgh - Katz Graduate School of Business
R. Lynn Hannan
Georgia State University - J. Mack Robinson College of Business
Michigan State University - Department of Accounting & Information Systems
Donald V. Moser
University of Pittsburgh
The Accounting Review, October 2001
This study reports the results of three experiments that examine how preferences for wealth and honesty affect managerial reporting. We find that subjects often sacrifice wealth to make honest or partially honest reports, and they generally do not lie more as the payoff to lying increases. We also find less honesty under a contract that provides a smaller share of the total surplus to the manager than under one that provides a larger share, suggesting that the extent of honesty may depend on how the surplus is divided between the manager and the firm. The optimal agency contract yields more firm profit than a contract that relies exclusively on honest reporting. However, a modified version of the optimal agency contract, which makes use of subjects' preferences for honest reporting, yields the highest firm profit. These results suggest that firms may be able to design more profitable employment contracts than those identified by conventional economic analysis.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 46
Keywords: Experiment, Honesty, Incentive contract, Managerial reporting
JEL Classification: D82, J33, C91, M40, M46Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: May 11, 2001
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