Does Recognition Instead of Disclosure Matter to the Users of Financial Statements?: Evidence from SFAS 106
Posted: 25 Sep 1998
Date Written: September 1998
This paper uncovers a potential explanation for the discrepancy between Amir (1996) and Choi, Collins, and Johnson (1997) by examining whether the users of financial statement data treat information differently if it is disclosed instead of recognized in the body of the financial statements. Amir (1996) finds that the liability for postretirement benefits other than pensions (PRBs) is value-relevant conditioned on earnings and pension information while Choi et al. (1997) find that the PRB liability is measured with more error than the pension liability and is therefore less reliable. Since Amir's sample consists only of SFAS 106 adopters and the Choi et al. sample includes both adopters and non-adopters (disclosers), we identify a sample of early adopters who disclose an estimate of their anticipated liability in the Management Discussion and Analysis (MD&A) or notes to their financial statements. We test whether accounting information disclosed in the MD&A or notes (the estimate of the PRB liability) is valued by the market the same as information recognized in the financial statements (the recognized PRB liability). The results indicate that the recognized PRB liability is capitalized at a higher rate than the disclosed liability. Our evidence suggests that the market treats information disclosed in the notes in this context as less reliable than similar information recognized in the body of the financial statements.
JEL Classification: G19, M41, M44, M45
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation