Trends in Earnings Management and Informativeness of Earnings Announcements in the Pre- and Post-Sarbanes Oxley Periods

44 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2004

See all articles by Daniel A. Cohen

Daniel A. Cohen

University of Texas at Dallas - Naveen Jindal School of Management

Aiyesha Dey

Harvard Business School

Thomas Z. Lys

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 1, 2005

Abstract

We document that firms' management of accounting earnings increased steadily from 1987 until the passage of the Sarbanes Oxley Act (SOX), with a significant increase during the period prior to SOX, followed by a significant decline after passage of SOX. However, the increase in earnings management preceding SOX was primarily in poorly performing industries. We also show that the informativeness of earnings increased steadily over time, and there was no significant change in earnings informativeness following the passage of SOX. Further, we find that earnings management increased the absolute informativeness of earnings, but reduced the informativeness for a given earnings surprise, as well as reduced the abnormal return for a given amount of earnings surprise. Finally, the evidence supports the hypothesis that the opportunistic behavior of managers, primarily related to the fraction of compensation derived from options, was significantly associated with earnings management in the period preceding SOX.

Keywords: Earnings Management, Sarbanes Oxley Act

JEL Classification: G14, G18, G30, G38, K22, M41, M43

Suggested Citation

Cohen, Daniel A. and Dey, Aiyesha and Lys, Thomas Z., Trends in Earnings Management and Informativeness of Earnings Announcements in the Pre- and Post-Sarbanes Oxley Periods (February 1, 2005). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=658782 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.658782

Daniel A. Cohen

University of Texas at Dallas - Naveen Jindal School of Management ( email )

P.O. Box 830688
Richardson, TX 75083-0688
United States
972-883-4772 (Phone)
972-883-6811 (Fax)

Aiyesha Dey

Harvard Business School ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

Thomas Z. Lys (Contact Author)

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Department of Accounting & Information Systems
Evanston, IL 60208
United States
847-491-2673 (Phone)
847-467-1202 (Fax)

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