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Stock pledging and earnings management: an empirical analysis

Sandhya Bhatia (Department of Accounting and Finance, Indian Institute of Management Udaipur, Udaipur, India)
Sangita Choudhary (School of Management, BML Munjal University, Gurgaon, India)
Amish Dugar (Department of Accounting and Finance, Indian Institute of Management Udaipur, Udaipur, India)
Smita Mazumdar (The School of Business Management, Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies University, Mumbai, India)

Asian Review of Accounting

ISSN: 1321-7348

Article publication date: 2 October 2019

Issue publication date: 4 October 2019




The purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of agency risk implied in case of personal debt obtained by promoters through pledging of their stock on accrual and real earnings management practices.


In this paper abnormal accruals, as suggested in Dechow et al. (1995), and the real earnings management proxies as indicated in Dechow et al. (1998) and Roychowdhury (2006) are used. OLS regression is run over 29,054 firm-years of Indian companies starting from the year 2008 to 2016. Then the occurrence of earnings management is tested in firms in year t where promoters pledge/release their holdings from the pledge in year t+1.


The findings suggest that earnings management increases in the prior year with an increase in the proportion of promoters’ stock pledge in the subsequent year. The authors find evidence for increased earnings management through accruals and also for real earnings management using abnormal cash flows and abnormal discretionary expenses. However, the authors do not find real earnings management using abnormal production cost as a measure.

Practical implications

The paper has considerable implications on managerial behavior toward earnings management because of the flexibility managers have in applying accounting policies and authority in operating decisions under domestic GAAP, and IFRS and earnings are prone to management tactics, fostering agency risk when they relate to the welfare of decision makers.


This paper addresses the consequences of individual borrowing of promoters collateralized by their stake in the firm, which is a global phenomenon, on reporting quality.



Bhatia, S., Choudhary, S., Dugar, A. and Mazumdar, S. (2019), "Stock pledging and earnings management: an empirical analysis", Asian Review of Accounting, Vol. 27 No. 3, pp. 350-372.



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