The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between earnings management (EM) and corporate social responsibility (CSR) in Saudi Arabia. It is one of only a small number of studies to examine this relationship outside the US market, and the first in the Middle East and Arab region, particularly in Saudi Arabia.
The paper uses content analysis to extract the CSR disclosure items from annual reports of Saudi firms. A CSR disclosure index was then constructed. For EM, the residuals from Kothari et al.’s (2005) model are considered. Multivariate analysis was performed using pooled OLS-regression models to examine the direct relationship between EM and the CSR index.
Using panel data from all Saudi public firms listed on the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) over the 2015-2016 period, the authors find that CSR is positively and significantly related to EM practices as proxied by discretionary accruals. This implies that Saudi firms undertaking CSR actions are more likely to manipulate their earnings.
The findings of this paper have important policy implications for policy-makers, regulators, auditors and investors in their attempts to constrain EM practices and enhance the quality of financial reporting in Saudi Arabia.
This paper contributes to the body of accounting literature by providing the first empirical evidence in the Middle East and Arab region on the positive association between EM and CSR in Saudi Arabia.
Habbash, M. and Haddad, L. (2020), "The impact of corporate social responsibility on earnings management practices: evidence from Saudi Arabia", Social Responsibility Journal, Vol. 16 No. 8, pp. 1073-1085. https://doi.org/10.1108/SRJ-09-2018-0232
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