R&D Cuts and Subsequent Reversals: Meeting or Beating Quarterly Analyst Forecasts
38 Pages Posted: 23 Feb 2014
Date Written: February 21, 2014
Among firms that meet or beat earnings expectations, we find that cuts to R&D spending are more prevalent in Q4 relative to other interim quarters. This is consistent with the relative costs of real activities management (accruals-based earnings management) decreasing (increasing) in Q4 due to the annual audit. More importantly, we find that the subsequent reversal of such R&D cuts is more prevalent and economically more significant following Q4 cuts relative to the reversals that follow cuts in other interim quarters. Our findings suggest that examination at the quarterly level (rather than annual level) lends new insights into the current debate regarding the prevalence of potentially value-destroying R&D cuts that managers make. Indeed, our findings suggest that such cuts may merely be temporary deferrals of R&D outlays.
Keywords: real earnings management; analyst forecasts; quarterly R&D spending; reversal of discretionary expenses
JEL Classification: G31; G38; M41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation