Identifying Accounting Conservatism in the Presence of Skewness
42 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2018 Last revised: 6 Oct 2022
Date Written: October 5, 2022
The asymmetric timeliness (AT) coefficient as a measure of accounting conservatism has been subject to much debate. We clarify the conditions under which the AT coefficient identifies accounting conservatism in the presence of skewness. Specifically, using an extensive simulation-based approach, we examine the joint impact of return skewness, earnings skewness, and return endogeneity. We show that skewness of returns and earnings distorts the AT coefficient as a measure of conservatism when returns are endogenous. While earnings skewness is a predicted consequence of conditional conservatism, return skewness is arguably unrelated to conservative reporting and cannot be tackled by simple skew reducing transformations or outlier-robust estimators. Empirically, we provide evidence that cross-sectional variation in the AT coefficient is correlated with cross-sectional variation in skewness.
Keywords: conditional conservatism; asymmetric timeliness; piecewise linear regression; skewness
JEL Classification: M41, C15
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation