Do Career Concerns Affect the Delay of Bad News Disclosure?

60 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2014 Last revised: 21 Feb 2017

Stephen P. Baginski

University of Georgia - J.M. Tull School of Accounting

John L. Campbell

University of Georgia - J.M. Tull School of Accounting

Lisa A. Hinson

The University of Florida

David S. Koo

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Date Written: February 20, 2017

Abstract

Theory argues that career concerns (i.e., concerns about the impact of current performance on contemporaneous and future compensation) encourage managers to withhold bad news disclosures. However, empirical evidence regarding the extent to which a manager’s career concerns are associated with a delay in bad news disclosure is limited. We first confirm the finding of bad news delay in Kothari, Shu, and Wysocki (2009) using their method of inferring bad news delay from investors’ stronger reaction to bad news relative to good news management forecasts. We then investigate whether the extent of bad news delay is associated with career concerns. Across multiple proxies for career concerns, we find that the extent to which managers delay the disclosure of bad news is positively associated with their level of career concerns. Finally, we hand-collect data on an explicit compensation contract that firms use to reduce their CEO’s career concerns (i.e., ex-ante severance pay agreements). We find that if the firm promises managers ex ante a sufficiently large payment in the event of dismissal, they no longer delay the disclosure of bad news relative to good news. Overall, our findings support prior theoretical evidence that managers delay bad news disclosure due to career concerns and suggest a mechanism through which firms can mitigate the delay.

Suggested Citation

Baginski, Stephen P. and Campbell, John L. and Hinson, Lisa A. and Koo, David S., Do Career Concerns Affect the Delay of Bad News Disclosure? (February 20, 2017). 2015 Canadian Academic Accounting Association (CAAA) Annual Conference. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2537580 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2537580

Stephen P. Baginski

University of Georgia - J.M. Tull School of Accounting ( email )

Athens, GA 30602
United States

John L. Campbell

University of Georgia - J.M. Tull School of Accounting ( email )

Athens, GA 30602
United States
706.542.3595 (Phone)
706.542.3630 (Fax)

Lisa A. Hinson

The University of Florida ( email )

322 Gerson Hall
Warrington College of Business
Gainesville, FL 32611
United States

David S. Koo (Contact Author)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ( email )

1206 South Sixth Street
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

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