Reacting to a Peer Bankruptcy Announcement: Tension in Financial Reporting
44 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2020 Last revised: 18 Apr 2023
Date Written: April 18, 2022
Through this paper we investigate if and how a peer’s bankruptcy affects financial reporting by other firms within the industry. Prior research documents that the bankruptcy filing of a peer firm has negative capital market effects on other firms within the industry (lower stock market value and higher cost of debt). We argue that firms within an industry experiencing peer bankruptcies modify their financial reporting to mitigate such negative capital market effects. However, tension arises as to whether such modification is toward more conservative accounting or the opposite. Using a large sample from 1980 to 2018, we find that following a peer firm bankruptcy filing, other firms within the industry exhibit a rise in conditional conservatism in their financial reporting. Our findings are robust to a battery of tests including the exclusion of distressed industries, the 2000 dot-com crash period, and the 2008 financial crisis period as well as employing an alternative proxy for conditional conservatism. The results are not significant for placebo bankruptcies one and two years before the actual bankruptcies. Further analyses show that the spillover effects are more pronounced for firms in industries with low concentration, those that exhibit higher leverage , and ones with strong governance mechanisms.
Keywords: Accounting conservatism, Bankruptcy, Spillover effects, Financial reporting
JEL Classification: G33, M41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation