The purpose of this paper is to examine borrowing capacity (BC) of government-owned firms and whether real earnings management (REM) activities moderate the sensitivity of firm BC to government ownership.
A simultaneous equation analysis is applied to study 210 Tunisian non-financial firms over the 2001–2014 period.
The empirical results provide substantial evidence indicating that government-owned firms have higher BC and significant REM than other firms; the relationship between government ownership and firm BC is partially moderated by REM activities.
The findings imply that the implicit credit guarantee of government is not necessarily the unique determinant of firm BC and highlight the role of lenders in monitoring discretionary real transactions in government-owned and protected firms. These implications should be taken in to account by public sector policy makers. In particular, the findings predict that the current government accounting reform in Tunisia on the basis of IPSAS will, probably, improve information quality, but it is still insufficient to control real activities in public institutions.
This study extends a growing research stream on the relationship between BC and government ownership by focusing on the moderating effect of REM on this relationship and by considering the endogeneity issue. The findings provide evidence that government-owned firms use REM practices to improve their BC. Examining these practices in developing countries provides an opportunity to evaluate the efficiency of their public sector reforms and their effect on a firm’s performance and financing decisions.
Ben Rejeb Attia, M. (2019), "Firm borrowing capacity, government ownership and real earnings management: Empirical evidence from a developing country", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPSM-01-2019-0029Download as .RIS
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