U.S. Oil Companies' Earnings Management in Response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita
Posted: 27 Nov 2007
This study examines earnings management by U.S.-based oil companies in the period immediately after the impact of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. We show that large petroleum refining firms - but not the smaller crude oil and gas production companies - recorded significant abnormal income-decreasing accruals in the fiscal quarter immediately after the impact of hurricanes Katrina and Rita (Q4 of 2005). In addition, we show that these results are driven by abnormal current accruals. Prior studies show that some firms respond to periods of heightened political scrutiny by recording abnormal income-decreasing accruals (e.g., Cahan, 1992; Han and Wang, 1998). Our results add to this stream of research by examining a political cost-increasing event that occurred after the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) of 2002. The results suggest that in the post-SOX period managers continue to engage in income-decreasing earnings management during periods of heightened political cost sensitivity, at least in the case of large petroleum refining firms.
Keywords: Earnings management, oil industry, hurricane Katrina
JEL Classification: M41, M43, G38, L71
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation