The Association between the Legal and Financial Reporting Environments and Forecast Performance of Individual Analysts
45 Pages Posted: 13 Oct 2005
We test the ability of analyst characteristics to explain relative forecast accuracy across legal origins (common law versus civil law). Common law countries generally have more effective corporate governance mechanisms, including stronger investor protection laws and inputs provided through higher-quality financial reporting systems. In this type of environment, investors are more willing to compete for superior investment decisions because they expect to be equitably rewarded, and investors are more likely to demand information about accounting earnings because earnings have more value relevance. The increased demand by investors for earnings information increases the economic incentives of analysts to provide more accurate earnings forecasts. We predict that analysts with superior ability and resources in common law countries will more consistently outperform their peers because appropriate market-based incentives exist. In civil law countries, where the demand for earnings information is reduced because of weaker corporate governance mechanisms and lower-quality financial reporting, we predict that analysts with superior ability will less consistently provide superior forecasts. Results are consistent with our expectations and suggest an association between legal and financial reporting environments and analysts' forecast behavior.
Keywords: Analysts characteristics, relative forecast performance, investor demand, common law, civil law, quality of financial reporting systems, international accounting
JEL Classification: G29, M41, M44, M47
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