Where Do Firms Manage Earnings?
57 Pages Posted: 23 May 2011 Last revised: 19 Sep 2012
Date Written: May 21, 2011
Despite decades of research on how, why, and when companies manage earnings, there is a paucity of evidence about the geographic location of earnings management within multinational firms. In this study, we examine where companies manage earnings using a sample of 2,067 U.S. multinational firms from 1994-2009. We predict and find that firms with extensive foreign operations in weak rule of law countries have more foreign earnings management than companies with subsidiaries in locations where the rule of law is strong. We also find some evidence that profitable firms with extensive tax haven subsidiaries manage earnings more than other firms, and that the earnings management is concentrated in foreign income. Apart from these results, we find that most earnings management takes place in domestic income, not foreign income.
Keywords: Earnings management, rule of law, tax havens
JEL Classification: M4
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