Effect of R&D investments on persistence of abnormal earnings

Sharad C. Asthana (Department of Accounting, Fox School of Business and Management, Temple University, Philadelphia, USA)
Yinqi Zhang (Department of Accounting, Fox School of Business and Management, Temple University, Philadelphia, USA)

Review of Accounting and Finance

ISSN: 1475-7702

Publication date: 1 April 2006



This paper sets out to test the effects of firms’ and industry's R&D intensity on persistence of abnormal earnings.


Ohlson's valuation model is used with pooled regressions along with Fama–Macbeth methodology on yearly regressions and partitioning on Herfindahl index to conduct the tests.


It was found that firms’ and industries’ R&D intensities are both positively correlated with persistence of abnormal earnings. The evidence suggests that the positive effect on earnings persistence caused by R&D's effectiveness in mitigating competition dominates the negative effect brought by more risk from R&D projects

Practical implications

The fact that the firm's own R&D investment leads to incremental earnings persistence beyond that of the industry suggests the importance of incorporating both industry and firm's R&D intensity in earnings persistence. While industry R&D investment leads to competition mitigation via creation of entry barriers, a firm's own investment in R&D differentiates its products from those of its competitors, and thereby results in further competition mitigation by creating replacement barriers.


Finally, since R&D intensity is correlated with earnings persistence, inclusion of R&D intensity in future earnings persistence studies may lead to better model specification by reducing the problem of correlated omitted variables.



Asthana, S.C. and Zhang, Y. (2006), "Effect of R&D investments on persistence of abnormal earnings", Review of Accounting and Finance, Vol. 5 No. 2, pp. 124-139. https://doi.org/10.1108/14757700610668967

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