Capitalization of R&D and the Informativeness of Stock Prices
39 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2008
Date Written: August 2007
This paper presents both a new approach to studying the consequences of accounting choice and a unique sample to examine the effects of accounting choice in the R&D context. We investigate the effect of firms decision to capitalize R&D expenditures on the amount of information about future earnings reflected in current stock returns, as captured by the association between current-year returns and future earnings (FERC). We use a sample of U.K. firms, which includes both R&D capitalizers and expensers. An important feature of our tests is our use of a two equation system to control for the endogeneity of the accounting choice (i.e., self selection). Proponents of capitalization claim that it enables management to better communicate information about the success of projects and their probable future benefits. Consistent with this, we find that capitalization is associated with higher FERC than expensing.
Keywords: Research & Development, Informativeness, Capitalization
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