Politically Connected Firms and Earnings Informativeness in the Controlling Versus Minority Shareholders Context
36 Pages Posted: 27 May 2013
Date Written: May 25, 2013
Research Question/Issue: Focusing on an environment where the principal agency conflict steams from the divergence of interests between dominant owners and minority shareholders, and where the legal system provides weak protection to external investors, we analyze the effect of firms’ political ties on earnings informativeness. We also address a question that has not been considered in previous research, namely, the impact of the level of divergence between the dominant owner’s voting and cash flow rights on earnings informativeness for politically connected firms.
Research Findings/Insights: We find that the presence of politicians on the board negatively affects earnings informativeness. We also find a positive impact of the divergence between the dominant owner’s voting and cash flow rights on the informativeness of accounting earnings in politically connected firms.
Theoretical/Academic Implications: We show that the relationship between political ties and earnings informativeness is explained by an information effect, whereby politicians and shareholders are interested in providing as little information to the market as possible. Additionally, we show that the positive relationship between divergence and earnings informativeness in politically connected firms is explained by an alignment effect, whereby the existence of political ties reduces the dominant owner’s incentive to expropriate minority shareholders’ wealth, thus increasing earnings informativeness.
Practitioner/Policy Implications: The results of our study may be useful for regulators interested in increasing transparency in order to promote a more efficient allocation of resources. Similarly, the results may be useful to investors, financial analysts and auditors, as they provide evidence of the importance of considering specific features of the corporate governance system when assessing the credibility of accounting information.
Keywords: Corporate governance, Earnings informativeness, Politically connected firms
JEL Classification: G30, M41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation