Cherry Picking, Disclosure Quality, and Comprehensive Income Reporting Choices: The Case of Property-Liability Insurers
Posted: 1 Jun 2006
Financial Accounting Standard No. 130 Reporting Comprehensive Income encourages enterprises to report comprehensive income on a performance statement rather than on a statement of equity. We investigate the reporting decisions of 82 publicly traded property-liability insurers, which are fairly evenly split in their choice. Our results demonstrate that insurers with a tendency to manage earnings through realized securities' gains and losses (i.e., cherry pickers), as well as insurers with a reputation for poor disclosure quality, are more likely to report comprehensive income in a statement of equity. Apparently, these insurers face the highest cost of transparency. We do not find a relation between the reporting decision and the volatility of comprehensive income relative to the volatility of net income. Our findings that insurers' comprehensive income reporting choices are a reflection of their proclivity toward cherry picking as well as their level of disclosure quality should be of interest to standard setters because of the controversy over standard setters' preference for mandating all firms to report comprehensive income in a performance statement.
Keywords: comprehensive income, accounting choice, property-liability insurers, earnings management
JEL Classification: M41, M43, M44, M45, G22
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