Earnings Management Behaviors Under Different Economic Environments: Evidence from Japanese Banks
International Review of Economics and Finance, Forthcoming
Posted: 27 Dec 2005
This paper investigates Japanese banks' earnings management behavior under three distinct economic environments: (1) high-growth with asset price bubble economy (1985-1990); (2) stagnant growth with financial distress economy (1991-1996); and (3) severe recession with credit crunch economy (1997-1999). Using bank balance sheet information of 78 Japanese banks, we find that earnings management behavior by Japanese banks differ considerably across the three periods. Our results indicate that banks used security gains as a means to manage earnings throughout all three periods. We also find that banks used loan loss provisions to manage earnings; however, this behavior is only prevalent during the first two periods. Due to the fact that banks faced record-high non-performing loans during the latter severe recession period, banks on average may have been restrained from using loan loss provisions to smooth income and/or to replenish regulatory capital. Consistent with previous studies, we find that the Japanese banks significantly lowered their lending with increased provisions.
Keywords: Loan-Loss Provision, Security Gains, Earnings Management
JEL Classification: F34, F42, G28
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