Real Earnings Management and Information Asymmetry in the Equity Market
European Accounting Review, (Forthcoming)
43 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2016
Date Written: October 31, 2016
The literature suggests that real earnings management (REM) activities can increase adverse selection-risk in capital markets. Due to their opacity and the difficulties in understanding their implications, REM strategies may increase the level of information asymmetry among investors. This paper examines the association between earnings management through real activities manipulation and information asymmetry in the equity market. To estimate the level of adverse selection risk we use a comprehensive index of information asymmetry measures proposed by the market microstructure literature. For a sample of Spanish listed firms, we find that firms’ strategies of increasing earnings through REM are associated with higher information asymmetry in those firms that meet last year’s earnings. Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that earnings management through real activities manipulation garbles the market, enhances private information production, and exacerbates information asymmetry in the stock market.
Keywords: Information Asymmetry, Real Earnings Management, Real Activities Manipulation, Discretionary Accruals.
JEL Classification: G14, M41, M48
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation