The Mispricing of Abnormal Accruals

Posted: 3 Jun 2005

See all articles by Hong Xie

Hong Xie

University of Kentucky - Von Allmen School of Accountancy


This paper examines the market pricing of Jones (1991) model-estimated abnormal accruals (often termed "discretionary accruals" in the prior literature) to test whether stock prices rationally reflect the one-year-ahead earnings implications of these accruals. Using the Mishkin (1983) and hedge-portfolio test methods Sloan (1996) employs, I find that the market overestimates the persistence, or one-year-ahead earnings implications, of abnormal accruals, and consequently overprices these accruals. These results extend Subramanyam (1996) by demonstrating that the market not only prices, but also overprices abnormal accruals. They also suggest that the overpricing of total accruals that Sloan (1996) documents is due largely to abnormal accruals. The results are robust to five alternative measures of abnormal accruals, and still hold when I estimate abnormal accruals after controlling for major unusual but largely nondiscretionary accruals. The latter finding is consistent with the notion that the market overprices the portion of abnormal accruals stemming from managerial discretion.

Keywords: accruals, abnormal accruals, discretionary accruals, mispricing

JEL Classification: G14, M41

Suggested Citation

Xie, Hong, The Mispricing of Abnormal Accruals. The Accounting Review, Vol. 76, July 2001, pp. 357-373. Available at SSRN:

Hong Xie (Contact Author)

University of Kentucky - Von Allmen School of Accountancy ( email )

Lexington, KY 40506
United States
(859) 257-4648 (Phone)
(859) 257-3654 (Fax)

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