Earning Investor Trust: The Role of Past Earnings Management

Earning Investor Trust: The Role of Past Earnings Management

Florian Eugster, Alexander Wagner

Series number :

Serial Number: 
530/2017

Date posted :

September 19 2017

Last revised :

March 12 2018
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Keywords

  • Earnings management • 
  • earnings response • 
  • credibility • 
  • trust

Does earnings management, even though legal, hamper investor trust in reported earnings? Or do investors regard earnings management as a way for firms to convey private information, or simply as a neutral feature of financial reporting? We find that past abstinence from earnings management increases investor responses to future earnings surprises.

Importantly, this effect occurs where managers would in the past have had strong incentives and ample opportunities to misrepresent earnings. Overall, investors seem to interpret the extent to which management resists temptations for misreporting as a “litmus test” of trustworthiness.

Authors

Real name:
Florian Eugster