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The impact of earnings management on the value relevance of earnings: Empirical evidence from Egypt

Wael Mostafa (Faculty of Commerce, Ain Shams University, Egypt)

Managerial Auditing Journal

ISSN: 0268-6902

Article publication date: 3 January 2017

3277

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine the association between earnings management and the value relevance of earnings (the latter is operationalized by earnings response coefficient). Specifically, this study examines whether opportunistic earnings management has a negative impact on the value relevance of earnings for a sample of firms listed on the Egyptian Stock Exchange.

Design/methodology/approach

Different from prior work and due to data limitations in the Egyptian market, this paper first examines for the existence of earnings management based on the whole operating performances of the firms by testing whether firms with low/poor operating performance are more likely to choose income-increasing actions (strategies) than firms with high operating performance. After confirming that low operating performance firms manage earnings upward, the authors then assess whether this opportunistic earnings management by these low operating performance firms reduces the value relevance of earnings. This is performed by estimating a model of the relationship between stock returns and accounting earnings with a dummy variable that allows parameter shifts for earnings of low operating performance firms.

Findings

The results show that discretionary accruals are positive and significantly higher for firms with low operating performance than those for firms with high operating performance. These results indicate that low operating performance firms increase the earnings management practices by probably increasing their reported earnings opportunistically to mask their low performance. Furthermore, the results show that the earnings response coefficient is significantly smaller for earnings of low operating performance firms than that for earnings of high operating performance firms. These results suggest that earnings of firms with low operating performance (that are engaged in opportunistic earnings management strategies) have less value relevance than earnings of firms with high operating performance, i.e. the informativeness of managed earnings is lower than that of non-managed earnings.

Practical implications

Based on these results, it is plausible that the presence of opportunistic earnings management adversely affects the value relevance of accounting earnings.

Originality/value

Consistent with previous results from developed countries, this study shows that earnings management is a significant factor that affects value relevance of earnings in Egypt.

Keywords

Citation

Mostafa, W. (2017), "The impact of earnings management on the value relevance of earnings: Empirical evidence from Egypt", Managerial Auditing Journal, Vol. 32 No. 1, pp. 50-74. https://doi.org/10.1108/MAJ-01-2016-1304

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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