Earnings management is a common term in the academic community and is likely understood by managers and professional investors, but how the large community of non-professional investors interprets this term is less clear. We examine non-professional investors’ attitudes toward earnings management and their resulting investing behaviors using a 2 × 2 mixed design. We manipulate investor role (prospective vs current) between participants and the method of earnings management within participants. We believe that different investment goals (prevention vs promotion) between current and prospective investors should lead to different investing behaviors. Consistent with our expectations, we find that current investors are more likely to maintain an equity than prospective investors are to invest in the same opportunity. Further, the consistent link between investors’ attitudes and actual investment behavior is only present for prospective investors. The prevention goal drives the current investors to maintain their investment, while the prospective investors remain more objective and focus on a goal of promotion. Importantly, prior research examining investor attitude toward earnings management has failed to link investors’ attitudes with actual investing decisions; our study attempts to fill this void by examining attitudes toward earnings management as well as subsequent investment behavior.
We would like to thank participants from workshops at Virginia Tech and the University of South Carolina for their helpful comments. We would also like to thank Owen Brown and Ling Harris for their invaluable help through multiple versions of this chapter.
Ford, C., Lail, B. and Popova, V. (2018), "Are Non-professional Investors’ Attitudes toward Earnings Management Consistent with Their Investing Behavior?", Advances in Accounting Behavioral Research (Advances in Accounting Behavioural Research, Vol. 21), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 47-68. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1475-148820180000021003Download as .RIS
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