On the Association between Institutional Ownership and Aggressive Corporate Earnings Management in Australia
Posted: 22 Aug 2003
This study examines the association between institutional ownership and Australian firms' aggressive earnings management strategies. In contrast to similar studies, this study does not assume that the two views on how institutional ownership associates with firms' earnings management behaviour are mutually exclusive. The association between institutional ownership and firms' income increasing discretionary accruals is expected to vary as the level of institutional ownership increases. The results support the predicted non-linear association between institutional ownership and income increasing discretionary accruals. In particular, a positive association is found at the lower institutional ownership levels, consistent with the view that transient (short-term oriented) institutional investors create incentives for managers to manage earnings upwards. On the other hand, a negative association is found at the higher institutional ownership levels, consistent with the view that long-term oriented institutional investors' monitoring limits managerial accruals discretion. These findings suggest that institutional investors can act as a complementary corporate governance mechanism in mitigating myopic aggressive earnings management by corporations when they have a sufficiently high ownership level.
Keywords: Institutional investors, discretionary accruals, earnings management, corporate governance
JEL Classification: G32, G34, M41, M43
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