This chapter provides evidence that legislation affecting litigation risk has an influence on the financial reporting behavior of corporate management, we address the following research questions: (1) Do firms react to changes in litigation risk that result from the passage of new legislation at the federal level by adjusting their level of conservatism with regard to reporting earnings? (2) How do firms’ levels of conservatism react to changes in litigation risk over time? We analyze the level and trend in conditional conservatism to evaluate the efficacy of legislation in altering managerial reporting choice. Our examination takes place in the context of two distinct pieces of legislation intended to alter the legal environment faced by corporate managers: (1) the PSLRA (1995), and (2) Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002. Our findings indicate that the passage of legislation that increases litigation risk is associated with increased timeliness (conservatism) in financial reporting by managers. The increased timeliness, however, begins to subside shortly after the initial effect. While the initial effect of a reduction in litigation risk is negligible, subsequent periods exhibit declining timeliness (conservatism) in financial reporting. Our results indicate that legislative actions can be successful in altering management reporting choice through changes in legal regime. However, our results also demonstrate that the desired influence of these legislative policies may be transient.
We thank the conference participants and our discussants at the 2010 AAA Annual Meeting, the 2010 Mid-Atlantic AAA Meeting, the 2010 Midwest AAA Meeting, and the 2008 Southeast AAA Meeting.
Cefaratti, M., Dorminey, J., Lin, H. and Reed, T. (2014), "Litigation Risk and Management Reporting Choice: A Comparative Study of PSLRA and SOX", Managing Reality: Accountability and the Miasma of Private and Public Domains (Advances in Public Interest Accounting, Vol. 16), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 65-89. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1041-7060(2013)0000016006Download as .RIS
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