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Research and development reporting and stock performance: evidence from China

Shuming Bai (College of Business, McNeese State University, Lake Charles, Louisiana, USA)
Kai S Koong (Andrew F. Brimmer College of Business and Information Science, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Alabama, USA)
Yanni Wang (School of Economics and Management, Xidian University, Xi’an, China)

International Journal of Accounting & Information Management

ISSN: 1834-7649

Article publication date: 18 January 2023




China adopted its new Accounting Standards for Business Enterprises No. 6 in 2007, which substantially converges with the International Financial Reporting Standards. It stipulates that firms operating in China shall capitalize development costs provided specific criteria have been met. This paper aims to examine the effects of the new accounting policies of R&D on the value-relevance and stock performance of 36,299 Chinese firms-years from 2007 to 2020.


A comprehensive multi-stage analysis was conducted. Multiple linear regressions were performed on the pooled cross-sectional time-series total R&D, capitalized expenditures, expensed costs and other key financial factors to test for the effects of R&D on the stock prices, contemporaneous stock returns and subsequent stock returns for the full sample, capitalizer sample and expenser sample, respectively.


First, majority of Chinese firms (about 80% of those reported) elect to adopt expensing R&D approach, while about 20% deploys capitalization treatment. Second, key attributes such as size, profitability, leverage and R&D intensity are highly associated with capitalization propensity. Third, current capitalization affects the contemporaneous stock prices and stock returns (priced-in) with yearly volatility. Finally, intertemporal association exists between firms’ expensing costs and subsequent returns due to a delayed reaction.


As the world largest emerging economy, the results show that research and development information adds value, and capitalizers outperforms expensers in the area of stock performance. This strategy works irrespectively of economic development stage or capital market maturity. The findings call for more capitalization.



Future research may look at the value relevance of capitalization to stock market performance by industry, especially high technological sectors, and compare the industry performance across emerging and advanced economies.


Bai, S., Koong, K.S. and Wang, Y. (2023), "Research and development reporting and stock performance: evidence from China", International Journal of Accounting & Information Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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