Implied Cost of Capital and Accounting Conservatism
Posted: 25 Feb 2021
Date Written: February 25, 2021
In this paper, we illuminate the importance of accounting conservatism adjustments when estimating the implied cost of capital (ICC) with the Residual Income Valuation (RIV) and the Abnormal Earnings Growth (AEG) model. Specifically, we adjust for three main limitations in the research of ICC, that is, accounting conservatism, analyst over-optimism, and the degrees of freedom problem (i.e. different forecasting horizons), and compare their effects. We show that, after conservatism adjustments in either model, the correlation and the explanatory power of ICC for realized returns exhibits a substantial improvement. However, we find that the adjustment for analyst bias generates immaterial changes, while the adjustment for the degrees of freedom problem yields mixed results. Contrary to expectations, the adjustments do not align the estimated ICCs from the two models but make them to diverge more. Finally, the ICC from the AEG model outperforms its counterpart from the RIV model either with or without the adjustments.
Keywords: Implied Cost of Capital, Conservatism, Analyst Overoptimism, Degrees of Freedom Problem
JEL Classification: M41, G12, G31, G32
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