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Competition and profit hiding: evidence from banks in China

Dawei Jin (School of Engineering, Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, Wuhan, China)
Jianghui Liu (School of Finance and Business, Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai, China)
Liuling Liu (College of Business, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, USA)
Desheng Yin (School of Finance and Statistics, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China)

Managerial Finance

ISSN: 0307-4358

Article publication date: 7 October 2014




The purpose of this paper is to investigate the quality of financial reporting by banks in China, and the profit hiding behavior of banks in particular.


Reported profit is compared with actual profit using multiple regression analysis. The identification strategy allows the authors to quantify the degree of profit hiding in banking institutions.


Profit hiding exists in the whole banking sector in China regardless of the ownership structure of individual banks, though joint-stock banks have higher degree of profit hiding. Banks that are more financially constrained hide more profit than those less constrained ones. The competition in the banking industry competition impacts the extent of profit hiding, with higher competition being associated with lower degree of profit hiding.

Research limitations/implications

This paper documents the prevailing behavior of profit hiding in Chinese banks. It raises issues regarding the conventional methods of measuring bank efficiencies using accounting information reported by banking institutions.


This paper empirically examines the profit hiding behavior of banks in a transitional country.



This research project has been generously funded by the National Social Science Foundation (NSSF) of China: NSSF Grant 13&ZD016 and 12AZD095 (Desheng Yin), NSSF Grant 13CTJ003 (Dawei Jin). The authors also thank for financial support from program for New Century Excellent Talents by Ministry of Education of China (Grant NCET-13-0207), and “Shu Guang” project supported by Shanghai Municipal Education Commission and Shanghai Education Development Foundation (Grant 12SG27). All errors are authors.


Jin, D., Liu, J., Liu, L. and Yin, D. (2014), "Competition and profit hiding: evidence from banks in China", Managerial Finance, Vol. 40 No. 10, pp. 1040-1051.



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