Comprehensive Income: Who's Afraid of Performance Reporting?
Posted: 25 Apr 2009 Last revised: 21 Oct 2010
Date Written: April 1, 2009
Firms can report comprehensive income in either an income-statement-like performance statement or the statement of equity. Traditional theories of contracting incentives cannot explain this reporting location choice that only affects where comprehensive income data appear, because the contractible values of net income, other comprehensive income items, and comprehensive income are exactly the same regardless of the location where the firm reports comprehensive income. Drawing on theory, analysis of comment letters, and results of survey-based and behavioral research, we identify two factors - equity-based incentives and concerns over job security - that help explain why most firms do not follow policymakers’ preference to report comprehensive income in a performance statement. Our empirical evidence on a broad cross-section of firms shows that managers with stronger equity-based incentives and less job security are significantly less likely to use performance reporting. Overall, our study suggests that even though the reporting location choice is inconsequential in a traditional rational markets view, managers act as if they believe that comprehensive income reporting location matters.
Keywords: Accounting choice, Comprehensive income, Executive compensation, Managerial job security, Disclosure
JEL Classification: G34, J33, M12, M41, M43, M44, M52
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation