Corporate Governance and Earnings Management: The Effects of Board Composition, Size, Structure and Board Policies on Earnings Management

Posted: 11 Sep 2006

See all articles by Ruth W. Epps

Ruth W. Epps

Virginia Commonwealth University - Department of Accounting

Date Written: September 8, 2006

Abstract

This study investigates the relationship between corporate governance characteristics and earnings management. These characteristics include board structure, board composition, board size, CEO characteristics, nominating committee independence, compensation committee independence, and board disclosure policies. The study makes no pre-assumptions or specific predictions on which corporate governance characteristics have an impact on earnings management and which would not. Rather, a factor analysis approach is used, whereby all the above fore mentioned aspects of corporate governance are linked to earnings management to determine the corporate governance factor loading. Three groups of U.S. firms, one with relatively high negative, one with relatively high positive and one with low levels of discretionary accruals in the year 2004 are examined. In contrast to prior literature where board composition is defined as either an insiders-controlled board or outsiders-controlled board, this study classifies board composition into seven discrete categories: >50% insiders, >50% insiders and affiliated officers, between 50% and 66.7% outsiders, between 75% and 90% outsiders, between 90% and 100% outsiders, and 100% outsiders. In a univariate approach, the study finds that firms with annually elected boards, small size boards, 100% independent nominating committees and 100% independent compensation committees have more negative discretionary accruals. However, firms with 75% to 90% independent board or firms with a board size of between 9 and 12 have higher positive discretionary accruals.

The study's major contributions to the existing literature are its findings that income-increasing and income-decreasing discretionary accruals have a different relationship with corporate governance practices and its expansion of the scope of corporate governance from board independence and audit committee independence to other corporate governance characteristics such as board election rule, board size, nominating committee independence, compensation committee independence, and board disclosure policies.

Keywords: Corporate governance, Earnings management, Board of directors, Nominating Committee, Compensation Committee

JEL Classification: G34

Suggested Citation

Epps, Ruth W., Corporate Governance and Earnings Management: The Effects of Board Composition, Size, Structure and Board Policies on Earnings Management (September 8, 2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=929312

Ruth W. Epps (Contact Author)

Virginia Commonwealth University - Department of Accounting ( email )

301 W Main Street
Richmond, VA 23284-4000
United States

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