Political Corruption and Accounting Choices

Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, forthcoming

71 Pages Posted: 17 Apr 2019 Last revised: 18 Aug 2022

See all articles by Huai Zhang

Huai Zhang

Nanyang Business School, Nanyang Technological University

Jin Zhang

Monash University

Date Written: March 30, 2019

Abstract

We examine how political corruption affects firms’ accounting choices. We hypothesize and find that firms headquartered in corrupt districts manipulate earnings downwards, relative to firms headquartered elsewhere. Our finding is robust to alternative corruption measures, alternative discretionary accrual measures, alternative model specifications, the instrumental variable approach, and difference-in-differences analyses based on firm relocation and high profile cases. We find that firms headquartered in corrupt districts prefer income-decreasing accounting choices and exhibit higher conservatism. Finally, we find that the effect of corruption on earnings management is more pronounced for geographically concentrated firms, for firms without political connections, for firms in politically sensitive industries, for firms with lower transient institutional investor ownership, and for firms with less analyst coverage. In sum, our findings suggest that firms respond to corruption by lowering their accounting earnings.

Keywords: Accounting Choices, Political Corruption, Rent Seeking

JEL Classification: M41, G38

Suggested Citation

Zhang, Huai and Zhang, Jin, Political Corruption and Accounting Choices (March 30, 2019). Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, forthcoming , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3362732 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3362732

Huai Zhang

Nanyang Business School, Nanyang Technological University ( email )

Singapore, 639798
Singapore
+65-6790-4097 (Phone)

Jin Zhang (Contact Author)

Monash University ( email )

23 Innovation Walk
Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800
Australia

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